Column: Coach Dantonio showed a lack of respect

Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio wasn't happy with the way his team played against Eastern Michigan on Saturday, and rightly so.
Matt DeYoung
Sep 27, 2012

The Spartans, a Top 25 team and one of the favorites to win the Big Ten Conference this fall, struggled mightily, actually trailing at halftime before dispatching an overmatched Eastern team.

The Spartans were plagued with inconsistent play from several sources, including a number of troubling drops by the team’s young crop of wide receivers. It’s enough to make a coach want to pull out his hair.

If Dantonio felt it was his place to take out his frustrations on his players or his assistant coaches, that’s fine. After all, they’re the ones primarily responsible for his angst.

Instead, Dantonio decided to take out his irritation at a group of reporters gathered in an interview room at Spartan Stadium following the game.

During his postgame press conference, Dantonio started out civil enough, but 90 seconds in, he began to lose his patience with the very legitimate questions reporters were asking.

“I don’t have a whole lot of time in front of the cameras today,” he said. “That’s the way it is.”

That’s fine. If Dantonio was too upset to spend much time answering reporters’ questions, then at least he could have the decency and respect to answer those questions during the two-and-a-half minutes he gave them.

Instead, the coach with the perpetual scowl became more and more irritated as the press conference went on. Each question that came his way, he fielded with a blunt, choppy answers, each followed by the phrase, “Next question.”

Coach, did you come away with any more clarity in the receiving corps?

“Did you? Next question.”

Coach, how surprising was your team’s lack of emotion?

“It was surprising. Next question.”

Coach, does your offense need to play better to be effective against Ohio State next week?

“Yes. Next question.”

It’s not like these reporters were nailing Dantonio with brutal questions. They were lobbing softballs his way, yet he insisted on acting like a spoiled little brat, refusing to give any kind of quote that these reporters could take back and use in their stories.

These reporters have a job to do. They’re not asking these questions for their own benefit. They’re trying to gather as much information as possible, and get as many good quotes as they can, to pass along to the readers, the fans of Michigan State football who have an insatiable desire to read all they can about their favorite football team.

This isn’t hard-hitting investigative news we’re talking about here. These reporters aren’t asking the hard questions to grieving mothers who have lost a child, or to a public official in hot water for breaking the law.

They’re asking a football coach what can be done about all the dropped balls or why a player didn’t get onto the field until after halftime. Heck, one even sought praise for players who had good games.

Coach, can you talk about (Dion) Sims and Le’Vian (Bell) and how big they were today?

“They were big. Next question.”

Seriously?

Moments later, Dantonio spat, ““I’m just loving all these questions because they’re great ones.” Then he walked out on the interview.

It’s not the questions that are the problem, Coach. It’s the answers.

Comments

Mad Mike

If those were the questions that you were actually asking I would have walked after one minute!! While you were there did you actually see the game? what kind of answers were you expecting from what was obvious on the field?

davewali

Show me in the job description of Head Coach where it says "Provide good quotes for reporters".
Dis he answer the questions? YES
Softball questions, softball answers.
You want better answers, ask better questions.
When you ask questions than can be answered in one word, you don't be upset with one word answers.

GrandHavenJohn

Great piece Matt, 5 days after the fact. Welcome to last week. I guess when the Trib praised Brady Hoke's disciplinary measures for suspending Frank Clark and Touisssant for ONE GAME and then Frank Clark started against Air Force, while he had a FELONY CHARGE pending, for SECOND DEGREE HOME INVASION wasn't news worthy. Nor, while he continues to be on FELONY probation (I'm sure you realize that Dion Sims sat out an entire year).

The Grand Haven Spartans know you are a UofM Fan Boy, but what you don't know is that there more Spartans in Grand Haven than "Michigan Men & Women" AND Walmart Woverines combined and thus you are doing your employer as dis-service by attacking the most honorable coach in the B1G.

Sorry if Coach was upset with his team's performance and your colleagues' feelings were hurt..

Wait till October 20. Your feelings will be crushed.

truthhurts

But MSU does such a great job of disciplining its players?...idiot. Dantonio just gives his players a pat on the back......wait let me capitalize everthing so MSBooers can understand it

Highlander

Maybe reporters should ask better, more original questions? Reporter: "Did you come away with more clarity regarding the receiving corps?" "Do you need to play better to beat OSU?" The reporter already knows the answer of these questions, as do most 3rd grade football fans. Of course reporters have a job to do. Maybe they need to stop asking the same questions every week. And yes he was in a bad mood. But he has been more than accomodating to reporters since he arrived in East Lansing. What do you want him to do, sing some Josh Groban "You raise me up" song?

Mvantubergen

He is one of the best coaches in the country and was upset at his teams performance. The questions were absurd and his answers were appropriate. No disrespect to the reporters....they were doing their job.....on the other hand .....so was Coach Dantonio.

truthhurts

HAHAHA...one of the best coach in the country. What are you smoking?...im guessing a little to much of that spartan green. This is typical of what I expect out of MSU...nothing good or positive to report out of EL, just a bunch of unethical thugs running around undisciplined with no repercussion from the coach or athletic department. Go burn a couch.

Cmon Man

I didn't see an article about John L Smith a couple of weeks ago when he went crazy towards the media. I didn't see and article a few years ago when Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State went crazy yelling at the media. How about the Tribune write stories of interest like how the Notre Dame vs U of M series not being played could change the landscape of college football, or how MSU will have played three ranked opponents in five weeks after this weekend, or anything that is not almost a week old and really happens a lot more than people think. Interview Mike Farley and ask him the same "dumb" questions after they squeaked by with a win and I am pretty sure his answers won't be much more or different than what Dantonio gave. Find something interesting to write about and quit being a UofM homer...

truthhurts

these comments are proof the MSU fans/alumni are a bunch of bellyachers

Mad Mike

hey truithhurts, undisciplined really? how's the passing gaming coming along? and by the way how many felons will be starting for Hoke this week?

truthhurts

can't argue with a sparty, they never get it. Go cultivate some cow poo while i study rocket science

truthhurts

better read up on your institution buddy...and maybe work on your excuse for a loss next week. maybe the sun will be in their eyes or someone gouged their eyes. By the way, UM has zero felons on the field this week!

PeopleAreAmazing

Hi, Everyone! Great dialogue - but - really - who cares?

jackassery

Obviously football is the sport for idiots,and based on the comments posted here you all qualify!

GrandHavenJohn

Since Brady Hoke took over there have been 8 Michigan players arrested or charged with crimes. During the same time period Michigan State has had 0 players arrested or charged with crimes. The University of Michigan disrespects the game itself by playing FELONS. "Truth Hurts doesn't it ?"

I guess since The University of Michigan itself is on probation with NCAA , it doesn't matter if the players are also on probation with the Washtenaw County Court System.

Keep it classy Wolverines! Leaders and Best!

wally0724

Well, let's see, Hoke got hired on Jan 11, 2011, and on March 10, 2011 Brian Linthicum and Max Bullough were arrested in Colorado for assault and eluding police. Nice try, though.

truthhurts

case and point, according to MSU, they lost the game against ohio because ohio 'doctored' the game film. Lets make this clear, you lost because the other team was better! The only thing MSU will be national champions of is whinning.

Daniel N

Though that happened as well, we also lost due to two touchdowns that were taken away from us. One of which happening off a fumble they ruled as a dead play.

Also, your post has nothing to do with this article other than you trying to take potshots at State. So I have to ask, do you feel better now?

truthhurts

lets try not to poke anyones eyes out this weekend!! and hopefully you get the uncut version of previous game play to.

GrandHavenJohn

truth hurts says:

"can't argue with a sparty, they never get it. Go cultivate some cow poo while i study rocket science"

Dude: If you are a student at the University of Michigan and you spend your time writing comments on the Grand Haven Tribune website you are a bigger loser than I give you credit for. Go have some fun.

And BTW, throughout your life when people called you a "rocket scientist" they were being sarcastic.

.

truthhurts

hahaha dont turn green

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