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Dantonio's restructured contract well deserved

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

It has taken only two years for Mark Dantonio to change the culture of Michigan State football, and the university rewarded its head coach Friday with a restructured contract.

Dantonio's new deal was inevitable after he guided Michigan State to a 9-3 record and its first New Year's Day bowl appearance since 2000. Though Dantonio had been mentioned as a fringe candidate for another job or two, he never intended to leave Michigan State. Still, athletic director Mark Hollis did the right thing by sweetening Dantonio's deal to stay.

Though his length of contract or base salary didn't change, Dantonio will pocket about $500,000 more a year and receive $200,000 every June 30 that he's still the Spartans coach. If he lasts until Jan. 15, 2016, he'll get a $2 million bonus. Those terms seem reasonable for a guy who has Michigan State on the rise in every area. Two years ago, Michigan State needed a coach to restore order, and Dantonio has been the perfect pick.

With a new football headquarters (Skandalaris Center) and some major upgrades in recruiting, Dantonio will have Michigan State in contention for Big Ten championships very soon. He seems happy in East Lansing and likely to stay for some time, at least until Jim Tressel decides to step down at Ohio State.

Dantonio becomes the second Big Ten coach to be rewarded with an adjusted contract this month, joining Penn State's Joe Paterno. Soon to follow will be Minnesota's Tim Brewster and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald.