If you were me, this morning you were greeted to tweets and alerts that Mark Dantonio apparently hung up on the radio show hosts of Fox Sports Daybreak this morning. At first I wondered what the hell these dudes had to say that made him go off the deep end...then I listened to the interview.
All 2 minutes and 52 seconds of the interview are painful. Let’s do a line by line breakdown of why these clowns deserved to be hung up on sooner.
Mike North: "You've done a tremendous job out there, Coach. You had the odds stacked against you like our buddy Tom Izzo and you've done nothing but build a program.
Okay, so he starts with a bit of a compliment but he is not even out of breath before he brings up the basketball team. It should be noted that MSU’s basketball team is always mentioned in the national title talks, not the same with football. This just seems like a reason to drop a name that has nothing to do with this year’s football season.
But I've got to ask you this, because even in the radio business,
Is the radio business as tough and high powered as coaching a national caliber team in a power five conference?
whenever there's a new kid in town or a new radio host in town, you start taking a look at him. I want to know if - at all - has Jim Habaugh gotten into your head a little bit with some of his antics and some of the things he's doing in the neighboring school?"
So just to be clear, the first question for the coach that led a team to the College Football Playoff, has won 11 games in 5 of the last 6 season (including 3 B1G Championships and 4 Bowl Games) is about a coach who lost 2 conference games last year? Sound journalism guys.
If I am Coach D, I say thanks but no thanks and end it here. Thankfully for MSU athletics, I am not the coach so the interview continued.
Mark Dantonio: "Well you know from day one when we came here we've always competed with the school down the road. So that's something natural that we have to deal with, and so far so good. We focus on what we do. That's what I've tried to do around here and that's what our players do as well, just like this morning.
Good job, coach. He has answered questions like this so often he knows how to pivot and move on. What could the next question be?
Furman: "Coach, Connor Cook leaves your program with a record of 34-5. He was a team leader. I was somewhat shocked when I read last year that he was not named captain by his teammates. Was there any reason why? I thought that was somewhat unusual that as a quarterback not voted captain by his teammates."
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! So just to be clear, you are asking about the dumb controversy that was the talking point of the NFL Draft a full 3 MONTHS AGO and ask a coach about that as he is getting ready for a practice with this years squad? There is a QB battle going on right now and they go with THIS?
At this point Dantonio should have held the phone down and let Michael Geiger kick it 60+ yards and have an assistant record a vine of himself doing the windmill while flipping the strongest Dantonio-style birds he could. Coach went a different route.
Dantonio: "That's 2016. We're past that."
Translation: “Next question, a**hat.”
North: "Hey, Coach, do you eat pasta with Izzo? Do you guys get together and spool the pasta? Do you guys hang out together?"
Pasta? Izzo, again? This is some shock jock stuff. This guy must have watched a made for TV version of “Howard Stern: Private Parts” last night and came into work with one of those “hey guys, watch this” grins on his face.
Dantonio: "Yeah, Tom is right down the street from me, about five houses. So, very good friends. Great guy. Been very much involved in our program, as well. ... They've won championships and things of that nature. We try to emulate a lot of the things -- the competitive attitude during practice, the communication that they have during practice -- are things that we try to emulate."
The only regret I have here is that I could not see Dantonio’s face after he heard this question.
Furman: "Michigan State is now one of six Power Five schools with a winning percentage of .800 or more since the year 2010. Do you feel Coach that maybe you don't get the respect nationally (you deserve) because of those statistics? I don't see it."
Finally a decent question. Coach with the answer.
Dantonio: "Well you know we've been in the Top 10 the last three years. I don't know. You do what you do. I mean you guys are the guys talking out there and you ask questions that sometimes don't really make a lot of sense. As this point in time we just focus on the future and we're primed to do great things here in 2016. So we'll be ready."
Coach is rattled. He has had it with the questions and he let’s them know. Pasta questions to a dude that is taking 5 minutes out of a busy schedule? Furman is trying but North is acting like he hit the Vernors and Jameson on his way into work this morning. Obviously he has to respond:
North: "When Coach says 'you ask questions that don't make any sense', that hits close to home with me Coach I've got to be honest with you. But I understand completely what you're talking about. I've got to ask you about the state of your ball club now. Any injuries? And who is the new kid in town behind center?"
Defend your honor, Mike North! A word of wisdom though, if things like that hurt your feelings how about you don’t ask horrible questions. How did Dantonio respond this time?
By waiting for the right time, unleashing the biggest Coach D eye-roll of all time (allegedly), and hanging up the phone. You hear the click of the receiver and the interview is over. By my count Coach D gave these two 97 chances and that is 96 too many, in my opinion.
For what it’s worth, if you are reading this Coach, we will have you on the podcast and not mention Izzo or pasta or Harbaugh the whole time. Promise.
Full interview with audio here.