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Michigan State Football: Weekly Press Conference

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Dantonio closes in on history with a university he loves dearly

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 Western Michigan at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

EAST LANSING — Mark Dantonio will look to become Michigan State’s all-time winningest coach when his Spartans face off against Arizona State this Saturday, at 4:05 p.m. in Spartan Stadium.

Duffy Daughtery, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, collected a 109-69-5 record in East Lansing (19 seasons). Daughtery won four National Championships and two Big Ten Championships.

“I really believe he was a pioneer in the integration of college football,” said Dantonio. “If you look back and you really study the integration of college football, Michigan State had 20 African Americans playing on the 1966 team. 11 Starters.....Duffy was ahead of his time.”

Its obvious coach Dantonio has always had a higher level of appreciation for Michigan State University than anyone knows. The first time he walked into Spartan Stadium, he was mesmerized by “the fans, the greenery, the trees, the red cedar, and the Big Ten football atmosphere.”

“I can remember saying to my wife Becky; this is Big Ten Football. This is unbelievable — you could recognize this was a special place at that time,” said Dantonio.

Dantonio would “jump at the opportunity” to become a Spartan in 1995 with Nick Saban where he would stay for six years before leaving MSU for Ohio State to become a defensive coordinator and eventually a head coach for Cincinnati. So when he was presented with the possibility to return to East Lansing, it was an easy decision.

“When I had the opportunity to come back here, I didn't flinch. I made that decision and really there’s never been any point where I've even considered another position,” said Dantonio. “So it’s been one of those places that’s been unique to myself and my family.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 Western Michigan at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images