Beilein vs Dantonio

Submitted by gremlin on February 5th, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Before I begin, congratulations to any of you MSU fans who happen to read this.  Good win today.  

Here goes.

I find many parallels to our basketball coach and their football coach.  Both have done a fantastic job of turning around struggling programs.  Both have intensified the rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State.  However, I would argue Beilein is doing a better job.  Two bullet's as to why:


-Dantonio went head to head with RR, the worst coach in the history of Michigan football for three years.  Beilein is going against possibly the best basketball coach in the history of MSU basketball.  Beilein has a more difficult hill to climb.   

-John Beilein is recruting better than Dantonio.  Look at this incoming basketball class.  In Dantonios five years he hasn't reached a class ranking as high as Beilein's incoming class. 


Dantonio does have a big ten championship, albeit shared.  He's also not going up against Bo Schembechler (similar to Beilein going against Izzo).  


Thoughts?  I love where this program is headed.    





February 5th, 2012 at 3:33 PM ^

I suppose my point is that I feel much more comfortable with our basktball program than I would with their football program.  Dantonio has won, and it isn't paying dividends on the recruiting front.  Beilein has won, and we're starting to see some elite talent coming in.  

I think we can all agree Dantonio is a fantistic football coach (yes, a touch of a dickhead).  I would be pretty concerned if he was getting some grade A talent coming in.  But he's not.  Thank you Hoke (and Meyer) for putting end to any sort of beginning Dantonio thought he'd have on the recruiting front after two solid years.  

Michael Scarn

February 5th, 2012 at 3:41 PM ^

John Beilein sits on the NCAA's ethics committee and is one of the classiest coaches not just in basketball, but in all of college sports.

Mark Dantonio is a petulant child who gets in media spats with 22 year old kids, interrupts the speeches of fellow coaches who he believes are off topic when he is not even apprised of the format of a speaking panel, and whines when he gets beaten out in a recruiting battle for a kid who literally committed to his program by saying that he was holding himself a spot.  

The two could not be more dissimilar as people, and I can't look past these differences to see any similarites in what they've done for their programs.  Beilein's good name is sullied just by being in the same 3 word phrase as Dantonio.  


February 5th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

First of all, MSU's football team just had their most successful finish in the polls under Dantonio and Michigan was pretty good this year.  Dantonio's success hasn't come at our expense, except insofar as we failed to offer guys like Worthy and Jones who ended up being really good players.

Second, the gap between "Tommy Amaker is blowing it" and "Beilein is the savior" is way thinner than people realize.  Through 5 seasons at Michigan, Amaker was 35-45 in conference games.  Right now Beilein is 36-45 (we went from 16 games to 18 in his first year here).  We've still never posted a winning record in conference play under Beilein, much less contended for the league title (though this year we should finish above .500).  The difference has all been the result of Selection Sunday and maybe one game here and there over the course of a season.

The gap between Dantonio and where MSU was with Williams and Smith is pretty much off the charts.


February 5th, 2012 at 4:16 PM ^

I agree that Amaker gets a bad rap in some ways, but I think the record comparisons are deceptive.  Amaker's first couple recruiting classes at Michigan were much more highly-rated than Beilein's first few, which gave him the personnel to be competitive pretty quickly.  When he first got here, recruits still had memories of Michigan being good.  But we squandered that early momentum.  After peaking in year 2, the program plateaued and the recruiting leveled off.  

With Beilein, the recruiting was shaky at the outset (though Novak and Douglass have massively outperformed their rankings) but has steadily improved from year to year, and in the meantime, Beilein's managed to field competitive teams.  I would have my doubts that Amaker could have gotten either the 2009 or 2011 teams in the tournament and even this year I don't know, given Horford's injury.  




February 5th, 2012 at 4:26 PM ^

I definitely think Beilein is a better coach and he's proving to be a much better scout.  Guys like Horton and Abram were higher rated recruits, but at the end of the day they just weren't as good as guys like Burke and Hardaway. 

I just don't quite get the knee-jerk Amaker bashing.  He was basically in his first head coaching job (had only done a year at Seton Hall if memory serves) and was basically pulling the program out of a crater.  He was just never able to get over the hump and win that one extra game to get in the tourney (and I think got robbed once or twice on Selection Sunday).  He's proving to also be a hell of a coach at Harvard right now.

I don't know that there is anybody I would rather have than Beilein but we were pretty damn lucky to get Amaker and the job he did at that time (post-Ellerbee, pre-PDC).  He also left the program in pretty nice shape with Harris, Simms and Udoh in the fold, so I don't know that recruiting dropped as much as he failed to find those true breakout stars among his highly rated guys (other than maybe Udoh, who did it somewhere else).


February 5th, 2012 at 4:36 PM ^

Amaker was at Seton Hall for four years and went 68-55 there, with one Sweet 16 season and three .500 years.   After the Sweet 16 season (in 2000) he was one of the hottest coaching names in the country, but then he followed it up with a disappointing 2001 season (the team that had a brawl in the locker room), and the hype cooled down a little by the time we hired him.

He definitely wasn't as bad as Ellerbe, and it's not fair for fans to lump the two together.  But he didn't wow me as a coach.  What he's done at Harvard is shocking to me.    At Michigan he seemed like a standard good-recruiter-but-shaky-bench-coach type.  I guess he's grown as a coach since then.




February 5th, 2012 at 4:43 PM ^

It seemed like he got the team to play defense with great effort but that we never had a plan on offense.  Maybe some of that had to do with our perimeter players just not living up to the hype (it isn't like Horton, Abram and Harris had the NBA beating down their door), but he sure did appear clueless at times.

Also never would have expected him to dominate (by Ivy League standards) at a place like Harvard.


February 5th, 2012 at 4:44 PM ^

I was at UM for most of Amaker's early run, and the difference between him and Beilein was that Amaker was a good recruiter but a horrible X's and O's guy, while Beilein is nearly his equal recruiting (and frankly, Amaker had an easier sale initially) while a far superior tactician.  I know people want to protect Amaker, and I agree that he was blamed far too much for some of the team's struggles, but he was one of the worst game-time coaches I had seen.  His play calling was almost non-existent during stretches, which led to his team relying heavily on the PG's ability to draw in defenders and get guys open for shots.  That (kind of) worked with Horton at the helm, but fell apart with a less talented backcourt.  

I was a huge skeptic of Beilein when he got here, but all he's done since then is turn the program around to the point that people are complaining about splitting the season series with MSU on the way to another tournament appearance.  That's a HUGE difference from what happened with Amaker, whose last teams limped to the finish despite having every opportunity to be better.

His Dudeness

February 5th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

What in the hell does this have to do with anything? Nice little jab on RR too. That guy sure hasn't taken enough shit. This is one of the worst threads ever.


February 5th, 2012 at 4:46 PM ^


RR was neither a disaster nor a success - he was an attempt at something different that fell flat, but MSU's "rise" to prominence wasn't just because of RR, though I do think the perception of him in the state and the conference helped MSU on the recruiting trail for a couple of years.  As we saw this year, and to an extent last year, that will be changing.

snarling wolverine

February 5th, 2012 at 5:08 PM ^

I think you have to consider Rodriguez's tenure here to be a disaster.  15-22 at the winningest school in the country . . . that was downright unthinkable before he arrived.  It's still hard for me to believe how bad it was.  

Now, whether the blame for that poor record should fall wholly or partly on Rodriguez's shoulders is a different question.  


February 5th, 2012 at 7:47 PM ^

The reason MSU was good this year is because in 2007 and 2008 they signed great recruiting classes full of under the radar guys that Michigan never really pursued/offered.  Their only highly rated class in the last 6 seasons came on the heels of 3-9 at UM, but that class really hasn't produced much (two guys who got all-conference mention this year) and can't hold a candle to what we brought in that year (Denard, Lewan, Fitz, Roh, etc.). 

RR was an experiment that we didn't want to wait around for the results on because the initial transition was such a shitshow.  He was the victim of our somewhat spoiled expectations and of fan perception that coaches determine if a team is good or bad (they can make the difference for a game or two here and there, but players decide how good you are).  He also put his foot in his mouth on a regular basis and was never able to make his case to the fanbase or the people close to the program. 

The experiment itself has paid off swimmingly.  We just had a great season in what would have been only his fourth year, and are a unanimous top-10 team going into next season.  We lose just 3 of the 18 guys who played on defense in the Sugar Bowl and return all-conference honorees at QB, RB, LT, DE, MLB, and SS.  Not to mention the budding young superstars at CB (Countess) and OLB (Ryan).  You aren't in that spot if somebody spent the last three years screwing everything up.

The way the end of Coach Carr's career unpleasantly collided with Rich Rodriguez getting hired was definitely a disaster with plenty of blame to go around.  But I can't understand how people still complain about RR when we are sitting in the situation we are in so soon after he was hired.





February 5th, 2012 at 3:52 PM ^

Why is this thread even needed. State won today, they were the better team today, and guess what they were the better team in football this year too. Both teams are allowed to be good in both sports at the same time.

I don't see Michigan basketball going back to the cellar, just like I don't see MSU football going back to the cellar. Both these schools will be good for a long time, why make threads like this?


February 5th, 2012 at 3:53 PM ^

You really think MSU football is going to be good for a long time?  That was kind of my point.  We're starting to see talent coming into the basketball program.  They aren't seeing talent rolling into their football program.  


February 5th, 2012 at 4:00 PM ^

I already pointed out that they are both excellent coaches.  Do you see MSU winning a Big Ten Championship in the next 10 years?  I don't with the lack of talent they have coming in off of two strong seasons.  Again, that's my point.  If you think Dantonio is going to beat Pelini, Bielma, Hoke, or Urban to a Big Ten title in the next 10 years, that's your opinion.  


February 5th, 2012 at 4:05 PM ^

I think they have a shot, just like every team does (except Indiana....they are beyond repair). I've seen plenty more talented Michigan teams lose to the likes of Purdue and Northwestern, and miss a chance at the Rose Bowl. Yes, we obviously have the higher trajectory of talent, but until we beat them on the field and win a B1G title the point is moot.


February 5th, 2012 at 4:10 PM ^

MSU's 2007 class (5th year seniors this year) was ranked 42nd on Rivals.

The 2008 class was ranked 47th.

No one was shaking in their boots when they signed Cousins, Cunningham, Jones, Worthy, etc. 

They had a highly regarded 2009 class (though ours has turned out to be way better so far), then slipped back into the 30's the next two years.



February 5th, 2012 at 4:50 PM ^

Boise St. plays 2-3 meaningful games a year, and has done well with limited recruits (though they do bring in a larger number of JuCos than schools like UM and MSU, which helps them shore up talent holes).  Same with TCU.  I think both have done a great job with the talent assembled, but if either of those teams played in an AQ conference year in, year out, they would be an Iowa or Georgia Tech - competitive in most games, but a consistent 3-4 losses most seasons with an occassional burst of success.

coastal blue

February 5th, 2012 at 5:38 PM ^

Michigan in similar big games...back when we didn't mind travelling to play a little competition.

Consider this stretch:

2000 UCLA

2001 Washington

2003 Oregon

All losses.

Now, Boise, with their 70th ranked classes:

2008 Oregon

2010 Virginia Tech

2011 Georgia

All wins. 

So Michigan at the height of the Lloyd Carr era can't grab a road win against inferior competition, but weak ass Boise who would lose 4-5 games a year in the Big Ten always seems to pull it out with their 3 stars. Yet I'm guessing you'd consider 2000-03 Michigan a consistent power. 

Boise wins the games that matter most. Their last two years have been derailed by coin flip field goals. The consistently win the big games and unlike something out of the Mighty Ducks (Michigan vs. Notre Dame, Va Tech this year), its usually through superior play. Saying they couldn't compete in a power conference is starting to become a joke when no one from the power conferences can beat them. 

M Fanfare

February 5th, 2012 at 3:54 PM ^

John Beilein is one of the nicest people I've ever met.

Mark Dantonio conducts himself at all times like he is eating piss-soaked Wheaties while also being peed on.


February 5th, 2012 at 4:02 PM ^

It's no wonder he can't recruit at all when you have polar opposite attitudes with Dantonio and Hoke.  One is an insecure douchebag that can't recruit and the other is the caring family friendly guy that you want to spend four years with.

Stephen Hawking

February 5th, 2012 at 4:04 PM ^

You're comparing coaches from different sports where there are entirely different strategies. And to compare recruiting is an effort in futility since a highly-regarded basetball class can contain 3 members while football classes need 20 or more.

Despite any efforts, there is no reasonable way to compare a football coach to a basketball coach in the ways you mentioned.


February 5th, 2012 at 4:19 PM ^

I really think it is a phenomenal stretch to compare two head coaches in two different sports who have two very distinct personalities, especially when recruiting in those sports is not the same at all really.

You can't compare recruiting across sports terribly accurately when you are not even looking at the same statistics for players. Unless Beilein starts recruiting and coaching football, very little of this argument makes sense.


February 5th, 2012 at 4:37 PM ^

The OP's point makes sense if you think about it.  I was pondering the other day how the number  four is somewhat like my old dead hamster skippy.  And while they are similar neither of them is like the color orange or things that weigh 20-25 pounds.  Both of those things are completely unlike each other which makes them the same if you think about that too.

I think i need to start a thread about this. 


February 5th, 2012 at 4:51 PM ^

Postseason ban meant nothing. It was one year. Missing one scholarship did hurt, but Tommy had plenty of chances to get to the tournament. Three different seasons we needed one more win to get there and we fell short every time. And he did not leave the program in great shape. Left CB with Deshawn and the hope of getting Alex Legion and Manny to maintain their commitment to the program. Tommy was a nice guy and a decent coach, but we just never seemed ot have direction under him. His philosophy was "play good D and uh, whatever you want on offense". I'll forever be thankful of how he represented the university when we were recovering from scandal, but I just don't think he's a coach that will succeed at a big time program. He did fine at Seton Hall, but it's hardly a brand name in college sports, and he's doing well at Harvard. It's a good fit for him.