INDIANAPOLIS – More money is coming for Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio and his assistant coaches.
Athletic director Mark Hollis would not give specifics or a timetable, but he confirmed that he will increase Dantonio's pay and provide more money to be distributed among MSU's assistants. More performance-based incentives may be included moving forward, Hollis said.
Dantonio makes about $1.96 million annually, which ranks ninth among Big Ten coaches, according to a recent USA Today report. He was just named Big Ten coach of the year for the second time in four years and had three 11-win seasons in the past four entering Saturday's Big Ten title game against Ohio State.
Hollis said he wants to make sure Dantonio and his coaches are compensated at "appropriate levels" and that on-field performance isn't the only reason to reward them.
"Coach D. and our football staff have done a great job on the field and off," Hollis said before Saturday night's game. "While individuals may make poor choices at times, [Dantonio] has developed a program that I'm proud of on Saturday and, as important, on the other six days of the week."
Entering the season, MSU ranked sixth in assistant coach salary compensation among the 10 Big Ten schools that are required by open-records laws to respond to a request for that information. MSU pays $2.27 million to its nine assistants, with $512,500 of it going to defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Pat Narduzzi.
QB Cook delivers
Connor Cook wasn't expected to be Michigan State's starting quarterback this year. Even when he was given the job early, he wasn't comfortable holding it.
Yet once he found his rhythm, the Spartans marched to that beat. This was a defensive team. At some point, though, that wasn't going to be enough, and Cook would have to be the difference.
Saturday, in the Big Ten Championship Game, it was batter up. The top-ranked MSU defense was dominated by Ohio State's offensive line in the middle of the game. So Cook answered through the air, throwing for a season-high 304 yards and three touchdowns in MSU's 34-24 title-game win at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The sophomore from Hinckley, Ohio, knew the Buckeyes were vulnerable through the air, but it took him a little while to get started.
Maybe it was big-stage jitters in the 34-yard first quarter.
But when the Spartans needed him, he rallied over and over again.