Michigan State's Dantonio now makes $3.64 million annually

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One of Michigan State's most successful seasons ever helped net Spartans coach Mark Dantonio a raise of almost $1.7 million per year.

Michigan State announced a new six-year deal for Dantonio that will pay him $3.64 million per season; he had been making $1.99 million annually.

The new salary puts him in at least the top 15 nationally in annual pay; he had been 51st, the USA Today coaching salary database showed. He is No. 4 in the Big Ten in annual salary, behind Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Michigan's Brady Hoke and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, all of whom make at least $3.9 million annually.

Michigan State went 13-1, upset previously unbeaten Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, then upset Stanford in the Rose Bowl; it was the Spartans' first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988.

Dantonio is 64-29 in seven seasons at Michigan State. He has guided the Spartans to at least 10 wins in three of the past four seasons; they had reached that plateau just three times before his arrival.

Dantonio and the Spartans open spring practice March 25. Rebuilding the offensive line and finding two new starters at linebacker and defensive tackle will be spring priorities. The Spartans led the nation in total defense in 2013 and lose six senior starters off that unit. But the defense is loaded with talent, and that side of the ball won't be an issue. The biggest key is finding two new starting guards for an offense that likes to control the clock and prefers to run the ball between the tackles.

Michigan State likely will be picked to finish second to Ohio State in the Big Ten's new seven-team East Division; the Spartans also could be the second-best team in the expanded 14-team conference.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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