Former Spartan Plaxico Burress Backs Dantonio: "Great Person -- Hell Of A Football Coach"

"He’s put them back on the national stage," he said.

Jamie and Stoney
October 24, 2019 - 11:02 am

Mark Dantonio is slowly losing support as Michigan State's football coach, but at least one former Spartan still has his back. 

Plaxico Burress, who played at MSU when Dantonio was the defensive backs coach, refutes the idea that Dantonio should step down. 

"I don’t think Coach D should step down at all," Burress told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket. "The way that he has the program running, he’s put them back on the national stage year in and year out, 13 years in now.  A lot of things that go on are out of his control, you can’t monitor everybody. It’s a shame that we have to talk about it and say, 'He should step down, he should resign.'"

Support for Dantonio has waned the last couple years, with the Spartans holding a record of 11-9 since 2018. The team's offensive struggles have been a source of consternation within the fan base, compounded by Dantonio's decision last offseason to keep his coaching staff in tact. 

The rest of this season could help determine Dantonio's future. Michigan State is 4-3, with games upcoming against Penn State and Michigan. However it shakes out, it's safe to say Dantonio will always have a fan in Burress. 

"Anybody that knows Coach D, he was the defensive backs coach when I was there back in 1998-99, he’s a hell of a man. He’s a great person, he’s a hell of a football coach, man, and I hope he sticks around for a long time because he’s just a great person and a great coach. I just hope everything works out for him."

Burress, whose game against Michigan in 1999 is part of MSU lore, also discussed Nick Saban's abrupt departure to LSU prior to the 1999 Citrus Bowl. 

"I was kind of upset," he said. "I remember that day very well. I was walking back from English class and one of the players walked up to me and said, 'Hey man, we have an emergency team meeting.' I’m like, 'What is the meeting about?' We had just beat Penn State to get elected to play in the Citrus Bowl, so we had a few weeks off. We go in and Coach Saban is standing on the stage and he’s like, 'I know you guys are hearing all these rumors about me leaving to go to LSU. I’m not going to LSU, I’m going to finish what I started. Let’s get ready to play Florida.' And the next day he was gone.

"I’m like, how can you sit there and stand in front of your team and tell them you’re going to finish what you started and you’re gone the next day? I was kind of upset because that’s one of the main reasons why I came to Michigan State, was to play for Nick Saban, and he was gone -- he didn’t finish the season!"