East Lansing — As Michigan State began a new era in football this week with the hiring of Mel Tucker as its next head coach, the program is saying goodbye to one of its longest-tenured contributors.
Head strength and conditioning coach Ken Mannie announced on Thursday he is retiring after 25 years at Michigan State, capping a coaching career that spanned 45 years.
“After 45 years of coaching, the last 25 spent here at Michigan State, I have decided to retire,” Mannie said in a letter posted on his Twitter account. “It is a decision that my wife, Marianne, and I came to a little over a year ago.
“To Spartan Nation, thank you for everything and God Bless you for the support and enthusiasm you bring to our program.”
Mannie first came to Michigan State prior to the 1995 season when Nick Saban took over the program. He remained through the head-coaching tenures of Bobby Williams, John L. Smith and finally Mark Dantonio.
During Michigan State’s trip to the Holiday Bowl in 2017, Mannie received the Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp Trophy aboard the USS Essex in San Diego. The trophy was given to a person in the program who best exemplified the spirit of unselfish dedication and teamwork which resulted in little recognition or acclaim, but contributed significantly to an outstanding 2017 season for the team.
In July 2014, Mannie was inducted into the USA Strength/Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame, Collegiate Division, in recognition of over three decades of service and contributions to the strength and conditioning profession.
“There are enough people to thank for the guidance and lessons learned along the way to fill a book,” Mannie wrote. “In terms of Michigan State, I have to begin with Nick Saban. Nick, who is in a coaching class with few peers, provided me with the opportunity to work in the Big Ten Conference and contribute to a world renowned institution in Michigan State University. And of course, the man I was fortunate enough to finish with, Mark Dantonio. Mark is one of the truly great coaches, leaders and role models in MSU history. Special thanks to Tom Izzo, who has always been very supportive, a confidant, and gracious to my family. All three of these men are valued friends for life. What a great honor it was to have worked with these coaching giants.”
Mannie wasn’t the only Michigan State staffer moving on as defensive tackles coach Ron Burton is reportedly in line to become the next defensive line coach at Indiana.
Burton joined Dantonio’s staff before the 2013 seasons and coached the entire defensive line before shifting his focus to defensive tackles in 2017. Burton helped mentor 13 players to All-Big Ten recognition, including end Shilique Calhoun, who became the first defensive end in program history to be named first-team all-conference three times.
Burton is returning to a familiar place having coached linebackers at Indiana from 1997-2001. He’s the second member of Dantonio’s on-field staff to take another job. Assistant defensive backs coach and former wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel is expected to be named the new wide receivers coach at UNLV.
Tucker hasn’t made any announcements on his staff. He said at his introductory press conference that he will be working to get to know the current staff members while moving quickly to determine who he will be bringing in.
As part of the six-year contract Tucker signed, his assistant coaching pool is expected to be at least $6 million.