It was reported Friday that new Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker would not retain any of Mark Dantonio‘s former assistants, a tough blow for those guys considering the offseason game of musical coaching chairs is closing down. Two of them have since retired.
Turns out Tucker is keeping one — one that technically wasn’t part of the staff when that news leaked out.
After agreeing to join the Indiana staff, it’s now been reported that defensive line coach Ron Burton has had a change of heart and will instead remain in East Lansing.
Can confirm this. Ron Burton had a change of heart. He will he staying at Michigan State after all. IU’s search for a defensive line coach restarts. https://t.co/xoytziCugX
— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) February 15, 2020
The only question: where on I-69 do you think Burton changed his mind? Do we think he crossed the border or go all the way to, say, Clear Lake, Ind., before pulling a U-turn?
In all seriousness, the change of heart is a big win for Tucker. Burton is regarded as one of the best defensive line coaches in the business. From his bio:
The defensive line is one of the main reasons why Michigan State continues to rank among the national leaders in rushing defense. Since Burton’s first year in 2013, the Spartans have led the Big Ten in rushing defense four times (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018) and have ranked in the NCAA FBS top 11 five of six seasons, including twice at No. 1 (No. 2 in 2013 at 86.6 ypg; No. 1 in 2014 at 88.5 ypg; No. 11 in 2015 at 116.0 ypg; No. 2 in 2017 at 95.3 ypg; No. 1 in 2018 at 77.9 ypg).
Tucker pursued Kentucky assistant head coach/tight ends coach Vince Marrow but he ultimately opted to remain at UK, so Burton counts as Tucker’s first hire in green and white.