Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio abruptly announced his retirement on Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.
The 13-year coach followed up his post with a press conference Tuesday evening in East Lansing, but some of his former players regaled Dantonio with tributes on social media.
Defensive end Kenny Willekes, who is entering the draft this spring: "A great coach and an even better man! Thank you for everything Coach, you've impacted countless of us on and off the field. A true Legend."
Cornerback Josiah Scott, who is entering the draft early this spring: "Thankful for the opportunity to play for you coach and giving me a big platform to perform and showcase my abilities. As well as allowing me to grow into the person I am today. Wish nothing but the best for you in the future."
Quarterback Brian Lewerke, who is eligible for the draft: "Thank you for everything Coach," adding a goat emoji to signal "Greatest Of All Time."
Offensive lineman Jack Conklin of the Tennessee Titans: "Congrats @dantoniomark I don’t know where to begin to thank you for the opportunity you gave me. You taught all of us Spartans how to be not only good players, but also great men! Forever #gogreen"
Former running back L.J. Scott: "Sad day today in EL. Thank you for everything Coach D. The GOAT! Best to ever do it"
Linebacker Joe Bachie, who missed the end of his senior season this fall because of a drug suspension: “Thank you to this man! Made mine and many others dreams of playing college football come true #GOAT”
Former All-American defensive lineman Jerel Worthy: “Thank you Coach D for everything! Every lesson learned, tough battles we overcame, and the transition from the bottom to the top of our Brand I’ll never forget those memories! Keep Pushing! Spartans Will”
Former wide receiver Mark Dell: "I remember signing and ppl telling me how dumb I was for not going to UofM. I was 3-1(07 was a fluke) against those bums and We ain't missed a bowl damn near since you walked through those doors. You changed the culture and for that you a legend! Congrats on retirement !!"
Former tight end Josiah Price: "Thank you for being the great man and coach you are! I am forever greatful to have played for you and learned so many life lessons from you and your staff!"
Former linebacker Darien Harris: "Your favorite Coach’s favorite Coach !😤Happy Retirement Coach D! Can’t imagine MSU without you at the helm but we thank you for everything you’ve done, for all the lessons you taught us, and each and every lasting memory. You’re a legend, a Hall of Famer, and one of the best people on the planet. Shine on Coach ! Thank you for always being a LIGHT."
Former wide receiver Felton Davis, now with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs: "Man I love you . can't even lie made me tear up . You gave me a chance and look at me now . Complete your circles . Thank you for everything . SPARTAN DAWG FOR LIFE"
Former wide receiver Tony Lippett: "Thanks for all the Memories coach... Stay Blessed and enjoy life after."
Former running back Javon Ringer: "Thanks Coach D. For everything💯 @dantoniomark."
Former linebacker Andrew Dowell, now with the New Orleans Saints: "Great coach and an even better man. Truly cares about ALL his players. Appreciate everything that you’ve done for me & my entire family!"
Current safety Michael Dowell: "Gave me and my family a opportunity that can never be repaid. Thank You."
Quarterback Rocky Lombardi: "Congrats to you Coach! Left this program in a better place. Thank you for laying the path for the future."
Running back Elijah Collins: "Thank you"
Cornerback Shakur Brown: "You will be missed Legend"
Defensive lineman Naquan Jones: "Praying for the best Coach ♥️ been a solid man since the first day I met you. You’ll forever be that father figure to me 🤞🏾 love you Coach D."
Linebacker Dante Razzano: "Blessed to be able to play for this man."
Linebacker Charles Willekes: "Greatest football coach in Michigan State history. Thank you @DantonioMark for everything!!"
Offensive lineman Tyler Higby: "A great coach and remarkable man. Thank you for your guidance and leadership and for allowing me to pursue my dreams at Michigan State."
Former linebacker Riley Bullough: “Thankful for all the memories with @DantonioMark !! Onto the next chapter!”
Former safety RJ Williamson: “Blessing to play under the guidance and knowledge of one of the greatest coaches of all time. Sad seeing you leave but will always wear it as a badge of honor that I played on successful teams that were directed by you. Many things taught by you I use in everyday life. Thank u”
Dantonio took the Spartans to new heights in his tenure, becoming MSU's winningest coach.