- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Michigan State has hired Air Force assistant Ron Burton as its new defensive line coach. He replaces Ted Gill, whose contract was not renewed.
Burton is a 21-year coaching veteran who has spent the past 10 years tutoring defensive linemen at Air Force. He has also worked at Indiana, coaching linebackers from 1997-2001, Eastern Michigan and Grand Valley State.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge to the position," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement released by the school. “Ron played four years in the NFL and has been around some of the game’s top coaches at both the professional and collegiate levels. In the pros, he played for Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson and Gene Stallings, and he started his tenure at Air Force under Fisher DeBerry, one of college football’s great coaches.
“He was simply dynamic during the entire interview process. We had an opportunity to share some ideas last year in a professional development setting, and we believe Ron is a natural fit in terms of defensive terminology and concepts. He also brings great energy and management skills to the coaching staff."
Burton said in the school's release that he gained respect for the Spartans' staff during last year's meeting.
“We sat and talked football, and I was simply amazed at how the staff handled things," Burton said.
The Spartans lose three starters off last season's defensive line, including early draft entrant William Gholston, but Burton should still have a lot to work with. Junior Marcus Rush will be a third-year starter at defensive end, while young players like Joel Heath, Shilique Calhoun and Lawrence Thomas show a lot of promise.