MSU passes big test in keeping Narduzzi

Michigan State has made strides on the field toward becoming a nationally elite program.

The school took another step Friday night in ensuring Pat Narduzzi remains as defensive coordinator.

Texas A&M pursued Narduzzi for its defensive coordinator position and reportedly made a very lucrative offer. Narduzzi visited College Station and toured the facilities Thursday. But he has decided to remain with Michigan State, the team announced Friday.

"When provided a professional opportunity like Texas A&M, I owed it to my family to investigate it because my first obligation is to take care of my wife and children," Narduzzi said in a prepared statement. "The bottom line remains; however, that I'm very comfortable working for Mark Dantonio and Michigan State. The support from the top down is tremendous. Coach Dantonio, athletics director Mark Hollis, President [Lou Anna] Simon and our Board of Trustees have been very supportive and understanding as I've gone through this decision-making process, and I'm thankful for their patience. I share the same feelings that our players and coaches have that there’s some unfinished business to take care of here. We're all driven to win the Big Ten Championship and win a Rose Bowl."

Narduzzi coordinated a defense that ranks fifth nationally in yards allowed and ninth in points allowed.

"Prior to Texas A&M aggressively pursuing Pat Narduzzi, Mark Hollis had already identified the financial resources to make sure that not only Pat, but all of our assistant coaches, had salaries that are competitive in the Big Ten," Dantonio said in a statement. "We understand that our continued success will provide professional opportunities for our student-athletes and coaches alike. There's no doubt that Pat will be a head coach sometime soon, but for now, we’re excited that he remains a Spartan as we continue our pursuit of another Big Ten Championship and our first trip to the Rose Bowl."

As Dantonio notes, Narduzzi soon will land a head-coaching position, but until that point, he'll likely remain with Michigan State. This is a key step for Michigan State to keep its momentum and keep pushing forward as a new power in the Big Ten.

There was a bit of bad news for Michigan State, as running back Edwin Baker told the Associated Press that he's skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Baker had a big year in 2010, rushing for 1,201 yards and 13 touchdowns, but he slipped behind Le'Veon Bell on the depth chart this fall.

Bell likely will be the team's primary ball carrier in 2012, although Baker could have been a big part of the offense as well.