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Michigan State president Samuel Stanley offers his support of coach Mark Dantonio before the Spartans play in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Detroit News

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New York – Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has already said he’ll be back next season, and on Friday before the Spartans took on Wake Forest in the Pinstripe Bowl, his boss gave him his support.

Samuel Stanley has been on the job as Michigan State’s president for five months, and he’s seen enough to convince him of the direction of the Michigan State program after two straight disappointing seasons.

“I am excited about the future and I think this is a great opportunity,” Stanley said just hours before kickoff at Yankee Stadium. “Obviously, we have a tough opponent. Wake Forest had a great season so it’s going to be difficult. Nothing’s ever easy in these games.

“I think Coach Dantonio has really an incredible track record, as you know -- the winningest coach in MSU history -- so I am pleased with direction of the program overall. The season was not what we hoped for last year, there’s no question, but I think he is the right person to continue.”

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Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman already has offered his support of Dantonio and this was the first real chance for Stanley to do the same after he took over the post on Aug. 1 after serving as president at Stony Brook University since 2009.

Dantonio entered Friday’s bowl game with a 113-57 record with three Big Ten championships and five bowl victories in his 13 seasons.

However, since the appearance in the College Football Playoff in 2015, things have steadily gone in the wrong direction. Michigan State went 3-9 in 2016 and had a handful of off-field problems after the season. The Spartans rebounded with 10 wins in 2017 but went 7-6 last year and finished the regular season in 2019 with a 6-6 mark.

Throughout the downturn, the Michigan State offense has routinely ranked among the worst in the nation. It sparked a shifting of coaches last offseason and could lead to some turnover in the staff this offseason. Dantonio has said he’ll wait until after the bowl game before he makes any decisions on potential changes to the coaching staff.

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