Spartans name Salem as RBs coach

My apologies for posting this a bit late, but Michigan State on Friday filled its lone staff vacancy by naming Brad Salem as running backs coach.

Salem, a former graduate assistant for the Spartans, spent the past five seasons as head coach of Division II Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. He replaces Dan Enos, who left in January to become Central Michigan's new head coach.

"The fact that Brad has a Spartan background is extremely important to us," head coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement. "He spent two years on the Michigan State campus as a graduate assistant under outstanding head coaches George Perles and Nick Saban and had the opportunity to work directly with some excellent offensive minds in Morris Watts and Gary Tranquill. ... He's an innovative offensive coach, outstanding teacher and communicator."

Salem, who went 31-26 at Augustana, served as a grad assistant at Michigan State from 1994-96, working alongside Dantonio his last two years. He has been at multiple high schools and also did a stint in the European Professional League. Most of his experience has been in South Dakota, both at Augustana and the University of South Dakota.

“I’m thrilled to be headed back to Michigan State, especially to work with Mark Dantonio, who has been a positive influence in my life," Salem said in a statement. "I’m also excited about the opportunity to work with a great coaching staff along with a talented football team. Coach Dantonio and his staff have put together outstanding recruiting classes back-to-back.

"After spending three years as a graduate assistant at Michigan State, I have great passion for the school, and this institution will sell itself to prospects throughout the Midwest. Michigan State has it all: a great coaching staff, remarkable football facilities, a beautiful campus and outstanding academic programs. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work."

This is an interesting choice for Michigan State and Dantonio, who hasn't had to replace an assistant in a while. Enos was one of the Big Ten's top recruiters and helped Michigan State improve its presence in the Detroit area. Salem will have huge shoes to fill from a recruiting standpoint, and he hasn't been in the area for a while. But his background as a former high school coach could be beneficial as he tries to build relationships in the state.

Salem takes over a running back group led by promising sophomores Larry Caper and Edwin Baker. The Spartans lost two running backs -- Glenn Winston and Ashton Leggett -- after the residence hall mess, so Caper and Baker seemingly will be carrying the load for the foreseeable future.