Mark Dantonio credits the success that he has had at Michigan State to great team chemistry, outstanding team leadership, the relationships he has developed inside of the athletic department and being able to keep players in the program.
The past two seasons have seen the Spartans reach the 11 win mark back to back for the first time in school history, play in the inaugural Big Ten title game, and provided some of the best game winning heroics in recent football memory.
"I think our chemistry is tremendous on our football team. We've had great leadership. This'll be another year, so, you'll have other leaders stepping forward. And just as importantly as anything, there's a great relationship between our administration, Mark Hollis, Lou Anna Simon, our president, our board of directors and then our fans, and the top alumni people. Everybody's on board and everybody's going in the same direction. That's what we see across our athletic department and with our coaches, as well."
At the end of May Dantonio's assistants received a nice raise, something that he had been vocal about for quite some time.
"I think it was very important to pay our coaches the going rate. The administration got in line. It's a crazy world out there, the world of college athletics, it's very crazy at times. So our guys are in line, they're making a good living, provide a great atmosphere for them to work in and hopefully you can see the continuity and it's paying off."
Dantonio also talked about how a few key times in a season can determine the direction of the program.
"I think every season has tipping points in the season, that are going to flip you one way or another. The last two seasons we've had points in the season that have just sort of given us confidence to roll. And that's what we've seen happen. And I think the one thing that we've done here, from the '07 team all the way through the 2011 team, is that when we've had a tough situation, and we've had a setback, we've bounced back. We've put our foot in the ground and we've driven forward. I think that's a result of just good leadership at the ground level, which, to me, that's players."
"I think if we can just learn by our mistakes, not feel sorry for ourselves, not change just for the sake of change, we're going to be OK. It's not always about winning football games, it's about other things, too. And we have a very healthy environment at our place right now. And that gives us a lot of enthusiasm for what we do."