Bumping into Coaches Izzo and Dantonio

Submitted by GratefulBlue on May 23rd, 2011 at 11:40 AM

This past weekend, a family member of mine got hitched up at Bay Harbor in Petoskey. My girlfriend and I stayed at the hotel at Bay Harbor, and had the good fortune to be situated on the same floor as both Coach Izzo and Coach Dantonio. Apparently they were Up North for some sort of alumni event (Sparties rocking full green regalia littered the resort).

Long story short, my gf and I ended up on the elevator with them both on Friday evening, and had about 45 seconds to say hello. I let them know I was a Michigan grad, but my girlfriend is a former Spartan, so we had some common ground for peaceable conversation. Izzo was extremely friendly and classy. He shook hands warmly, chatted us up and let us know why he and Dantonio were at Bay Harbor, and generally seemed like the quality guy he's purported to be.

Dantonio, on the other hand, was sullen and unpleasant. He said almost nothing, and scowled a bit when I mentioned I was a Wolverine. He barely made eye contact with either me or my girlfriend when we shook hands, and it took some restraint for me not to ask him how recruiting's going. Instead, as we stepped off the elevator, I told Izzo that, even as a Michigan fan, I respected the hell out of the job he's done in East Lansing, and appreciated the positive role he's played both for MSU and for the state. I said nothing to Dantonio.

Nothing too significant here, just thought the MGoCommunity might appreciate the anecdote.



May 23rd, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

But last year, I was on an elevator with Brock Mealer. He was headed up to one of the suites before the Iowa game. I took the time to shake his hand and say hello. That seemed like a worthy time to break my own rule on elevator etiquette.

Blue Ninja

May 23rd, 2011 at 1:02 PM ^

He was like that when he was here at Cincinnati. He refused to help push ticket sales because he hated having to do any PR. When he went to MSU I wished my brother luck because I said while Dantonio can coach he is not someone you want to be the public face of your school. If he were a Dr we would say he has no bedside manners.


May 23rd, 2011 at 1:06 PM ^

Just maybe they were going back to their rooms so Izzo could chastise MD for PMSu ing in front of people or maybe he just had cramps...


May 23rd, 2011 at 1:46 PM ^

I've been mystified how Dantonio hasn't been able to convert MSU's onfield success the past few seasons into attracting a higher caliber of recruit to East Lansing.    After hearing this story and the picture it paints of Dantonio's personna, it starts to make more sense.


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:13 PM ^

I'm glad Dantonio is evil because it gives me a reason to still hate the Spartons.  With Izzo being such a class act thank god they have a pompous Woody Hayes wannabe running their football program.


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

It's painfully obvious why Dantonio is such a jerk and Izzo is not.  Izzo is genuinely content at his job.  Dantonio on the other hand, is now and will continue to be miserable until he becomes Ohio State's head coach.  The man has a hard on for the Buckeyes more than anyone.   His time in East Lansing to him is nothing but a proxy run at competing against Michigan, but deep down he's miserable at not having the recruiting muscle he would at Ohio State.  He's enjoyed the ride that came with the RR transition melt down, but he, like the rest of us, knows that time has passed, and odds of things returning to normal (i.e., UM crushing MSU consistently) is imminent.  This will be his last strong year before his team returns to Big 10 mediocrity, where it will stay for years, resulting in his ultimate dismissal.  His one hope is for Tressel to get the shit can, for Meyers to balk, and for the Buckeye job to fall in his lap. 

I hate Dantonio now, I'll hate him twice as much if that ever happens.


May 23rd, 2011 at 3:55 PM ^

Two small quibbles:

Dantonio...will continue to be miserable until he becomes Ohio State's head coach. 

That's never going to happen.  After Tressel, they're going to need a cleaner image.  No way do they go to a guy with so many criminal concerns.  They're also going to see that without Treadwell and Enos, he's just a crusty, angry fuck whose luck (and soft schedule) has run out.

This will be his last strong year before his team returns to Big 10 mediocrity.

I have a feeling his team will drop back to their place this season.  No longer do they skip OSU (and they meet a new friend named, Nebraska).  No longer do they stay in-state until November.  No way does luck and trickeration win them three games again.  They're going 6-6 this season.

Lloyd's Boy

May 23rd, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

but with the roles reversed. I'm sure that he would be very friendly and would have joked around a little bit. Heck he would probably offer the MSU fan a Nutty Bar. I'm glad we have such a genuine coach.


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:39 PM ^

The post is super because it might be giving some insight into one reason Hoke is doing so well in recruiting against MD. There is obviously a totally different energy there.   


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:44 PM ^

This is fantastic. Could anything fit in with Michigan fans' images of the two coaches any more than that?

What I love is that Dantonio now feels so insecure about Michigan. Had there been no coaching change and subsequent recruiting domination, I'd venture to say you would not only have made eye contact with Dantonio, you would have caught a cocky smirk. He's been living on borrowed time and he knows it. Time is up.


May 23rd, 2011 at 2:44 PM ^

Dantonio's not my favorite guy in the world, but I'm not going to judge anyone on how he/she behaves in an elevator.  On the awkwardness scale, elevator riding is only a few notches behind standing next to someone at a urinal.


May 23rd, 2011 at 3:46 PM ^

This is totally true, though I will say that I've heard from others that Dantonio definitely doesn't hide his prejudices against certain fanbases, even in contexts when that really shouldn't matter.  I agree we can't judge him based on this interaction alone, but he's been kind of a tool since he started at MSU, and I'm starting to think that the tones of these interactions are not random.


May 23rd, 2011 at 3:56 PM ^

I can buy that he's a jerk; I just think that approaching him in an elevator and saying "Hi Coach Dantonio.  I'm a Michigan fan.  How are you?" is not the best way to evaluate what kind of a person he is.

BTW, anyone who thinks that Tom Izzo doesn't loathe this school with the burning intensity of 1,000 suns is way off-base.  He just hides it better.



May 23rd, 2011 at 4:19 PM ^

I don't disagree that Izzo hates UM, but RR hated OSU/MSU, same with Carr and Bo.  But outside of the rivalry week stuff, I always felt like the coaches could handle themselves professionally around other fans.  I guess that's always been my problem with Dantonio - he can't hide his distaste for UM and he isn't a good enough coach for people to brush that aside as "just his competitiveness."


May 23rd, 2011 at 4:40 PM ^

It's entirely possible that Dantonio had the runs and was concentrating on not shitting his pants; it's also entirely possible (no, likely) that's he's a giant prick.  How did RR sneak into your comment though?  Was he hanging in an elevator with Beilein? 


May 23rd, 2011 at 3:44 PM ^

I'm not going to get into the debate of whether or not Dantonio or Izzo owed the OP anything more than a head nod, but this minor interaction seems to square with the perceptions of both men by non-alumni.  Izzo has been one of the best coaches in college since he showed up in EL, and has always carried himself with a certain dignity even though it can be grating at times.  The guy is a winner and isn't afraid to remind you of it, but he also runs a (reasonably) clean program by big-time standards, and has earned the respect of most logical fans even if they don't like the team.

Dantonio, by comparison, comes across as the jerk that I've seen reported other places.  I know everyone says "He's paid to be a football coach, not an ambassador" and I get that to an extent, but part of the deal with being paid millions of dollars is that you'll have to interact with people, some of whome are not your biggest fans, at times.  That doesn't mean he has to stand there when being attacked verbally, but when a couple is riding in an elevator with you and just want to say hi, you have to put on a good face for the sake of the University that employs you, as you are a prominent member of that organization.  Even to UM fans, you are expected to be cordial provided they do not appear antagonistic, and nothing in the post above makes me think he was being combative.

Now, I know Carr was a prickly man and was rough around the edges with the media and opposing fans at times, but he always represented the University well and my guess is that he would have shaken an MSU fan's hand and at least been professional.  Maybe Dantonio was having a bad day or the OP isn't telling the whole story with context, but Dantonio always struck me as a guy who thinks he's a little bigger deal than he actual is, while Izzo gets that being a BMOC also means you have to be nice to people who might disagree with you.

Desmonlon Edwoodson

May 23rd, 2011 at 5:19 PM ^

But I dont really understand the hatred for Dantonio/love for Izzo.  I probably wouldn't have spoken to either douchebag, but if I did it would have been to ask Izzo if he was going to gaurantee victory again this year.  I really dont even see Dantonio as a long-term threat.  Sure they beat us these last three years...but who didn't?  When this thing gets rolling, Dantonio will be an afterthought. 

Izzo, on the other hand, has had his foot on our neck since that damned Explorer rolled over.  Every time I see his bloated red face screaming and crying at the officials(and his players) I really really want to give him a reason to cry.  Manipulative little worm.  I'd give anything to send him into retirement on a losing streak.

Edit: Upon further review, I probably would have told them to get the fuck out of my hometown.


May 23rd, 2011 at 5:22 PM ^

I love to hate him when he's on the sideline, no doubt about it. I laughed my ASS off at the game at Crisler when he sat down and stopped yelling, knowing his team had been bested. But when he's at the podium, he's fine. Actually hard not to like.

Dantonio is a 100 percent douche in every way. No respect there. The guy can go to hell.



May 23rd, 2011 at 5:34 PM ^

Hey I'm going to a wedding at that same place in a couple weeks if only Coach Hoke and Beilein are there that would be great....but Hoke will probably be out securing another twosome of 4 star commits.

I think Dantonio choosing to not have a conversation with you is fine as far as politness goes but he at least could have not been an asshole and given you a smile and handshake. Izzo is just a generally likeable guy even without building his program up to be considered among the elite in college basketball.

But what do I know, I thought Tressel (besides his dickish proclamation that he was going to beat us in his first year) was a decent guy too and that was so very very wrong


May 23rd, 2011 at 7:25 PM ^

Maybe a dickish proclamation, but did he do it? Just gotta walk the walk.

I think Tressel is a decent human being by most accounts I've heard, I just question his ethics. People can have poor ethical skills. That doesn't make them bad human beings. It's only one corner of the rhetorical triangle.


May 23rd, 2011 at 5:42 PM ^

It's not like we don't get a good dose of Dantonio in the media; we've all seen him dozens of times. If this were one story about a guy in an elevator, fine, MD gets a pass.

But watching him on TV the last few years, I get a pretty strong feeling that he's a rather unpleasant, scowling guy without a sense of humor. We may not know the man personally, but I'm of the belief that we can all draw a fairly accurate picture of whether we'd want to hang out with the guy. I'm certain I wouldn't.

Bo played the role of disciplinarian, too; in his case, though, it was real. But he had a sense of humor that came through fairly often. Bo had a sparkle in his eye that Dantonio will never have.

Tressel is a charmer; love him or hate him, you know if you met him he'd at least act like a nice guy. I've met Carr, and he comes across as a nice and friendly guy who simply doesn't suffer fools gladly. 

Dantonio's personality - at least his public persona - is just not friendly. I hope he goes to OSU eventually, and that will make beating OSU all the more sweet.


May 23rd, 2011 at 10:15 PM ^

Retired general in the military. His attitude and demeanor drove lots of people out of the company we both worked for, and drove away clients. The message, which he never got, is that it only works when you're the guy in charge and you don't answer to many people.


May 23rd, 2011 at 8:01 PM ^

And you didn't pull the fire alarm?
<br>Kidding aside, I worried when I read the topic title; glad you went the classy route.
<br>And I think Dantonio is trying to be Saban; the personality of a dead fish, but wins a lot. You know, without that "winning a lot" part yet.


May 24th, 2011 at 1:03 AM ^

Bay Harbor is a nice place to be.  One person had a 1950s-style Batmobile convertible with tail fins and a black-with-red-trim pain job.  I don't have any pictures on me but it was cool to check the car out when I was there one summer (he had it parked in front of some of the shopping buildings).