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#pounditTuesday, October 4, 2022

Articles tagged: Mark Dantonio

Report: Curtis Blackwell lawsuit against Mark Dantonio dismissed

Mark Dantonio

A high-profile lawsuit filed against former Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has been tossed by a judge.

The lawsuit was filed by former Michigan State assistant Curtis Blackwell, who claimed he was wrongfully terminated by the school. Blackwell was also suing former school president Lou Anna Simon and ex-athletic director Mark Hollis. Blackwell argued that he was being made the scapegoat for an on-campus party in January 2017 where three football players allegedly sexually assaulted a woman.

One of Blackwell’s lawyers was also singled out for potential further discipline.

There was speculation that the lawsuit might have to do with Dantonio’s decision to resign in February. He certainly didn’t come out of it unscathed. However, the dismissal of the suit calls into question some of the more salacious allegations that Blackwell made.

New Curtis Blackwell lawsuit claims Michigan State illegally recorded opponent practices

Mark Dantonio

Mark Dantonio may no longer be the football coach at Michigan State, but the issues continue for the football program.

According to a new lawsuit filed by former assistant coach Curtis Blackwell, the Spartans illegally recorded practices of a future opponent prior to a game. Blackwell also made multiple other claims, many of which had been previously stated.

Blackwell has made a lot of claims as part of a wrongful termination suit, and some think his suit was a factor in Dantonio’s abrupt departure a month ago. It does not help that there is evidence backing one of Blackwell’s claims, either. It doesn’t sound like the revelations from this suit are finished, and there may be more dirty laundry aired before this blows over.

Photo from recruit shows Mark Dantonio lied about Curtis Blackwell visit

Mark Dantonio

Mark Dantonio has been caught in a lie, and there is photo evidence to prove it.

Dantonio, who stepped down as Michigan State’s head football coach two weeks ago, has been involved in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by his former staff member, Curtis Blackwell. In the lawsuit, Blackwell alleged that Dantonio committed a recruiting violation by having Blackwell enter a recruit’s home even though Blackwell was not allowed to do so based on NCAA rules.

The Detroit News’ Tony Paul wrote a story on Tuesday that includes a photo showing Dantonio’s lie. The photo, which was taken by recruit Daelin Hayes’ mother, shows Blackwell and Dantonio posing with Hayes inside Hayes’ home during the visit.

Hayes ended up at Notre Dame, but the photo was included in legal documents filed by Blackwell’s attorneys.

Dantonio had claimed that Blackwell stayed in the car during the recruiting visit. The photo (Blackwell is on the far left, next to Dantonio, who is next to Hayes), shows otherwise.

The other violation Dantonio allegedly committed was arranging jobs for the parents of recruits through a booster.

The Detroit News says the violations would likely result in minor penalties from the NCAA.

Dantonio stepped down as Michigan State’s coach the day after the NCAA violations were made public by Blackwell’s legal filing. The program has since hired Mel Tucker as their new head coach.

New Curtis Blackwell lawsuit filing likely explains why Mark Dantonio stepped down

Why did Mark Dantonio suddenly step down as Michigan State’s head coach on Tuesday? A new lawsuit filing in the Curtis Blackwell case likely explains it.

Blackwell worked at Michigan State with the football team from 2013-May 2017 before being fired. He filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Dantonio and Michigan State 14 months ago, feeling he was the fall guy for a party at which several Michigan State players allegedly committed sexual assault.

On Monday night, one of Blackwell’s attorneys filed a response to Dantonio’s attorneys, and the response included some allegations of NCAA violations, according to The Detroit News.

The Detroit News says the alleged violations included Dantonio arranging jobs for the parents of two Spartans players through a top booster, and having Blackwell come on a recruiting trip even though Blackwell was not allowed to do so.

Dantonio denied the allegations, saying the jobs were approved by Michigan State compliance, and that Blackwell never left the car in the recruiting trip.

Between Dantonio’s subpar performances the last few years, the NCAA investigation into his program, and this, Michigan State may have felt it was time to make a change. They reportedly have one coach in mind already as the favorite.

Mark Dantonio collected massive bonus before stepping down at Michigan State

Mark Dantonio announced his surprising decision on Tuesday to step down as the head football coach at Michigan State, and some have wondered why he waited until February to do it. He may have had more than four million reasons.

Dantonio and Michigan State agreed to a reworked contract back in February of 2016, and the revamped six-year deal increased his annual salary roughly $600,000 to $4.3 million per year. It also included the opportunity to earn what Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press described at the time as “one of the largest one-time lump-sum bonuses in college football.” That bonus was worth $4.3 million if Dantonio remained the head coach of the Spartans through Jan. 15, 2020. Michigan State called it a payment “in recognition of his long-service to the University.”

Unless there is some language in the contract that we don’t know about, the only thing that would have prevented Dantonio from being able to collect the $4.3 million bonus would have been if he were fired or resigned prior to Jan. 15, 2020. If he were fired without cause, he would have been entitled to a $7 million buyout.

Michigan State struggled the past two seasons, and there were questions a few months ago about Dantonio potentially being fired. He and Tom Izzo were also investigated by the NCAA after the Larry Nassar scandal, though both coaches were cleared. Athletic director Bill Beekman quickly dismissed that talk. You have to wonder if the $4.3 million bonus and/or $7 million buyout were factors. Even if not, you can’t blame people for assuming Dantonio intentionally waited until after the bonus was due to announce he is stepping down.

All that said, it should be noted that Dantonio said in his statement Tuesday that he plans to remain with Michigan State in a role “involving special projects, especially transitioning our players, both current and incoming, to their next challenges.” Perhaps the Spartans consider that a $4.3 million position.

Mark Dantonio steps down as head coach at Michigan State

Mark Dantonio has had a successful run as the head football coach at Michigan State for the past 13 years, and that run has officially come to an end.

Dantonio made the shocking announcement on Tuesday that he is stepping down as the head coach of the Spartans.

Dantonio had a record of 115-57 at Michigan State. However, the Spartans struggled over the past two seasons after winning 10 games in 2017. They went just 7-6 this year and last year, finishing off the 2019 season with a win over Wake Forest in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Dantonio led Michigan State to the College Football Playoff semifinal in 2015, and things went a bit downhill from there. The team has a record of 27-24 since. Still, Dantonio is the winningest coach in school history and won three Big Ten titles.

There was talk during the season that Dantonio could be on the hot seat, but Michigan State’s athletic director said there was no consideration being given to firing the coach.

In addition to the mediocre results on the field over the past few years, Dantonio was also named in cover-up allegations regarding the sexual assault scandals that have rocked Michigan State.

Mark Dantonio addresses Brian Lewerke concussion check questions

Brian Lewerke head

Michigan State has come under fire for their handling of a hit on quarterback Brian Lewerke during Saturday’s game, and their response to it won’t exactly satisfy the concerns of those who had them.

Lewerke took a knee to the head in Saturday’s game and appeared a bit shaken, but stayed in the game. He threw a pick-six on the very next play, and ultimately did not miss any time and did not even appear to be examined.

On Tuesday, Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said that Lewerke simply told everyone on the sideline he was good to go and never went through the concussion protocol. Lewerke also said he was fine.

That doesn’t make it better. There is no way that anyone involved could have known in that moment that Lewerke would have no concussion issues. The hit to the head looked severe and someone should have put their foot down and forced Lewerke to get checked out as a precaution. The fact that Dantonio seems so unconcerned about it is a serious misstep, too.

Michigan State AD: Mark Dantonio firing ‘not even a discussion’

For the third time in the last four years under Mark Dantonio, the Michigan State football program is treading water. It has raised some question whether Dantonio’s job is safe, but according to athletic director Bill Beekman, that’s not even a question.

Beekman was adamant that Dantonio would remain the coach into 2020 despite his recent struggles.

“That is not even a discussion,” Beekman said, via Mark Johnson of the Lansing State Journal. “Mark’s our head coach, there’s no question about that.”

Since making a maiden trip to the College Football Playoff in 2015, the Spartans are 26-22. 10 of those wins came in a successful 2017 campaign. The 2019 season is shaping up to be another lost cause, with the Spartans losing three in a row after a 4-1 start, having been outscored 100-17 by Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State. Dantonio has also been named in cover-up allegations about the sexual assault scandals that have rocked the school for the last several years, and is a defendant in a federal lawsuit alleging wrongful termination of an assistant.

Ultimately, Dantonio is the winningest football coach in school history and has three Big Ten titles to his name. That’s brought him significant goodwill at the university, and it will probably take more than a couple mediocre seasons for this to become a realistic question.

Jeff Brohm, Mark Dantonio speak at Saban’s Alabama coaching clinic

Jeff Brohm

Jeff Brohm and Mark Dantonio added a measure of prestige to their resumes.

The Big Ten coaches spoke at Nick Saban’s Alabama coaching clinic on Friday in Tuscaloosa. Brohm, who has completed two seasons as Purdue’s head coach, shared the following photo on Twitter:

Dantonio, the longtime Michigan State head coach and a former Saban assistant, was at Bama’s practice after speaking at the clinic:

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia and new Cleveland Browns head coach (and former Alabama player) Freddie Kitchens also appeared at the clinic, according to

Getting an invitation from the best coach in the history of the game to speak at his clinic is nothing short of an honor.

Jim Harbaugh blames ‘bush league’ Mark Dantonio for pregame scuffle

Jim Harbaugh headset

It’s safe to say that the pregame incident between Michigan and Michigan State was not forgotten by the Michigan side after their 21-7 win over the Spartans.

The two teams scuffled before the game as Michigan players clashed with Michigan State’s pregame “Spartan walk.” Michigan alleged that the Spartans came out ten minutes late to interfere with Michigan’s warmups, and he took full aim at the Spartans and coach Mark Dantonio after the game, calling their actions “bush league” and saying that his respect for them had dropped.

Dantonio was asked to respond in his own postgame press conference, and he wasn’t buying Harbaugh’s line of attack at all.

These are two coaches that have never particularly been fond of each other heading two teams that feel the same way. It’s even more true when this was only Michigan’s third win in the last 11 against the Spartans after historically dominating the rivalry. Michigan clearly wanted to make a statement, were motivated to do so, and were happy to say so after their two-touchdown victory.