Could Narduzzi succeed Dantonio at MSU?

March, 5, 2013
3/05/13
11:00
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Mark Dantonio has seen two of his former Michigan State assistants -- Dan Enos (Central Michigan) and Don Treadwell (Miami University) -- leave for head-coaching positions elsewhere.

There's an assumption that Dantonio eventually will lose a third aide, longtime defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, to a top job elsewhere. Michigan State has taken steps to keep Narduzzi in East Lansing, doubling his salary last year after Texas A&M courted him and promoting him to assistant head coach on Monday.

Although Narduzzi hasn't gained serious consideration for head-coaching vacancies, there's a belief that it's just a matter of time, especially if he keeps churning out elite defenses in East Lansing. Dantonio expressed disappointment that Cincinnati didn't show more interest in Narduzzi for its recent vacancy. Narduzzi served as Dantonio's defensive coordinator at Cincinnati from 2004-06 before following him to MSU.

Could Narduzzi become a head coach without leaving town? Dantonio mentioned the possibility Monday.

From the Detroit Free Press:
Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi was named assistant head coach. Dantonio has never had one in nine seasons as a head coach, but the move is an indication of Narduzzi's value -- and of his potential future candidate for his boss' job.

Asked Monday on "The Drive with Jack" on WVFN-AM (730) in Lansing whether he would like Narduzzi to be MSU's head coach some day, Dantonio said: "That would be my hope."

"As I move forward, I'm gonna coach for a while," Dantonio said on the show, "but you always want to leave a legacy."

Dantonio turns 57 on Saturday and has plenty of job security at MSU. His five-year rollover contract recently was picked up through the 2018 season, and in 2011 he received a deal designed to keep him a "Spartan for life." He suffered a heart attack in September 2010 and missed several games while recovering, but he has since had no known health issues. Bottom line: Dantonio doesn't appear to be going anywhere any time soon.

Narduzzi, 46, certainly is ready for a head-coaching job, and he'd be a good fit at Michigan State. Would he be willing to wait for Dantonio to step aside? It's possible, but it could be tough if a good job in a BCS automatic-qualifying conference comes along. Narduzzi is popular at Michigan State and has done a tremendous job with the defense, but would the school want its next leader to have previous head-coaching experience?

Time will tell how things play out, but it's interesting to hear Dantonio mention Narduzzi as a possible successor. He doesn't hide his admiration and respect for his lead assistant.

Michigan State fans, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on Narduzzi. Send 'em here.

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