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Mark Dantonio steps down as Michigan State head coach

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After more than a decade of leading the MSU football team, Dantonio announces surprise change.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Michigan State v Wake Forest Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

In a surprise tweet Tuesday afternoon, Michigan State Spartans head football coach Mark Dantonio announced he would be stepping down from the position.

Dantonio has been the head coach since 2007 and lead the team to its best decade in modern football. However, the team has been regressing of late, and Dantonio had been reluctant to make changes.

The announcement was made via Dantonio’s personal Twitter account and retweeted by the team’s official account.

“Every February since 2007, I have reset this program in preparation for the next year’s challenges. After much reflection and discussion with my family, I feel that it is now time for a change as we enter into a new decade of Michigan State Football.

I have told our players on many occasions that “Michigan State is bigger than any one person. Someday there will be someone else here talking to you from this podium.” That day has come.

Dantonio has gone 114-57 during his time at Michigan State, including a trip to the College Football Playoff and a Rose Bowl championship. He has won three Big Ten titles and taken the program to a bowl game in 12 of his 13 seasons. He retires as the winningest coach in Michigan State history.

In his release, Dantonio said he hopes to remain part of the program and university. Dantonio stated he hopes to be involved in special projects concerning player transitions in and out of the program.

Despite his success, Dantonio has seen a noticeable step backwards over the last five years. In addition to extremely troubling issues off the field involving players removed from the team and arrested. MSU has only finished with more than seven wins once in the last four years.

The timing of the announcement is of note. It comes just a couple of weeks after Dantonio received a $4.3 million bonus for being the head coach. It is also just one day before National Signing Day, possibly putting recruits into an unexpected position.

Defensive coordinator Jim Tressel takes over as interim head coach.