Believe it or not, Mark Dantonio will now be one of the highest-paid coaches in college football this year. In very large part, as it turns out, because of a date on the calendar.
Back in October, we noted that Mark Dantonio would be due a very hefty bonus if were still the head football coach at Michigan State on Jan. 15. It’s now Jan. 16, and Dantonio is still MSU’s coach. Thus, per the terms of his contract, Dantonio is due a retention bonus in the amount of a whopping $4.3 million.
The contract calls for the bonus to be paid on or before March 31 of this year.
Including the retention bonus, Dantonio will make $8.6 million in guaranteed compensation in 2020. That would’ve made Dantonio the third-highest-paid head coach in college football. The only two ahead of him? Clemson’s Dabo Swinney ($9.32 million) and Alabama’s Nick Saban ($8.87 million).
In February of 2016, MSU announced that it had reached an agreement on a revamped contract for Mark Dantonio that pushed his annual guaranteed compensation to north of $4 million. Since that extension, which came off of three straight 10-win seasons and four in five years, the Spartans have gone 27-24, including a second-straight 7-6 record this past season. The Spartans are 17-19 in Big Ten play since then as well. Combine that recent futility with an offense that has languished near the bottom of the Big Ten during that stretch — and was the impetus for the coach to chafe at reporter’s dumb-ass question on at least one occasion — and you had chatter surrounding Dantonio and his long-term viability growing louder by the week.
Add that on-field unevenness with off-field issues that will play out in court beginning this month, and the speculation has been swirling as to how long Dantonio will continue on as the Spartans’ coach. Dantonio stated in November that he would be returning to East Lansing for a 14th season in 2020.
At least for now, Dantonio also has the support of athletic director Bill Beekman and university president Samuel Stanley.