It was reported Thursday that Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar was one of a handful of candidates for a job with the New Orleans Saints.
Two days after interviewing with the NFL club, Roushar is now officially the ex-Spartans OC.
In quotes distributed by the team, Roushar confirmed that he is leaving East Lansing for the running backs job with the Saints. The move ends Roushar’s eight-year run on Mark Dantonio-led coaching staffs spanning two different programs.
Here’s Roushar’s statement, in its entirety:
“The New Orleans Saints and Michigan State are built on similar models, with a focus on character and people. New Orleans has won a Super Bowl, and over the last five years, the Saints have been one of the winningest organizations in the NFL. I’ve had an opportunity to work for Mark Dantonio – in my opinion, the best college football coach in America – for the last eight years, including the last six seasons at Michigan State. Now, I have an opportunity to work for arguably the best coach in the NFL, in Sean Payton. Professionally, this is an opportunity I simply couldn’t pass up. Now as a running backs coach, I have the chance to learn the interworking of the NFL.
“Michigan State is poised to have a tremendous year in 2013. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have worked alongside Coach Dantonio, a talented coaching staff and gifted players. The last six years at Michigan State have been quite rewarding: six-straight bowl appearances, back-to-back 11-wins seasons including a Big Ten Championship and a Legends Division title, and four-straight victories over Michigan. It’s difficult to leave because it has been quite a ride, but professional opportunities like this are indeed rare. Coach Dantonio has built something special – it’s a program that pursues excellence in all aspects, not only on the field competing for championships, but also off the field in the classroom and in the community.”
Roushar has been with the Spartans since Dantonio came to East Lansing in 2007. He was also on Dantonio’s Cincinnati staff the two years prior to that. After serving as offensive line coach for his first four years at MSU, Roushar was promoted to coordinator when Don Treadwell left for the head coaching job at Miami of Ohio.
In 2012, following the departure of quarterback Kirk Cousins, the Spartans’ offense dropped from 37th in scoring in 2011 (31 points per game) to 108th in 2012 (20 ppg), and from 56th (390.4 yards per game) to 95th (359.3 ypg) in total offense. That significant dip in performance had left many fans wondering if Dantonio would or should take away Roushar’s keys to the offense.
The decision to leave for the NFL made that a moot argument, although it now leaves Dantonio with an important hole in his staff just a couple of weeks before the start of spring practice.
“Dan Roushar has been a loyal and dedicated assistant for the last eight years, including the past six seasons at Michigan State,” Dantonio said in statement. “He’s a great teacher and a tireless recruiter. Dan certainly played a critical role in helping build a solid foundation here at Michigan State. We’re grateful for the effort and energy he’s invested in our program.
“He’s excited about being presented with the opportunity to coach the game at its highest level. We’re thrilled for Dan and his family, and we wish him nothing but the best in the NFL.”
Former Kansas State head coach Ron Prince, who has been mentioned as a possibility at Rutgers as offensive coordinator, interviewed for the same job with the Saints as well.
(Photo credit: Michigan State athletics)