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Friday, December 23, 2011
Dantonio hopes to keep staff, reward staff

By Adam Rittenberg

Mark Dantonio has lost only two assistants during his tenure at Michigan State, and both men -- Dan Enos and Don Treadwell -- left for head-coaching positions elsewhere.

Like several Big Ten programs, Michigan State ties its recent success to continuity on the coaching staff. Dantonio would like to keep it that way heading into 2012.

"I hope so," Dantonio told ESPN.com on Friday. "You never know how things change as you go through January, but our staff has been a big part of our success here. Great people, great teachers, great relationships with their players. It's one of the main reasons we're having great success."

Spartans defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi appeared to be the likeliest candidate to move onto a head-coaching position. Narduzzi, who guided the No. 5 defense this season, had been mentioned for vacancies at both Illinois and Akron, which since have been filled. While the coaching carousel is still spinning, it's a decent bet Narduzzi remains in East Lansing for another year.

But he needs to get paid. So do Dantonio's other assistants after what the program has done the past few seasons.

Narduzzi reportedly earned $235,000 this year. Offensive coordinator Dan Roushar earned $232,000, while the other assistants pocketed between $165,500-$182,550.

Michigan State's salaries are in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten, although comparable programs such as Wisconsin and Iowa both have a higher-paid assistant than the Spartans (Paul Chryst and Ken O'Keefe, respectively). Narduzzi certainly would appear in line to be one of the league's highest-paid aides.

Michigan State has pledged its commitment to Dantonio, who in October received a new contract designed to keep him a "Spartan for life." Dantonio has voiced the need to recognize his assistants' contributions as well, and he has received favorable feedback from the school's administration.

"When you see the pay scales for assistants and coordinators and things of that nature, we have to be able to keep pace with other people or we're going to lose [assistants]," Dantonio said. "Inevitably, this is a job and you have to worry about the benefits to your family long-term. Michigan State's a football program that's won 10 games this year, 11 games last year. We're on the cusp of something great here, but we haven't done this alone. This hasn't been just the head coach. It's been the assistants as well.

"People will recognize that. [Athletic director] Mark Hollis recognizes that and is doing everything possible to put us on equal footing financially."