MSU cuts ties with assistant Ted Gill

In a somewhat surprising move, Michigan State announced late Friday afternoon that defensive line coach Ted Gill won't return for the 2013 season.

Gill's contract runs through March 31 and "will not be renewed," head coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement.

"He has been a contributing member of my coaching staff for nine years, including the last six seasons here at Michigan State," Dantonio's statement reads. "I wish Ted the best in his future endeavors."

Gill has served as Dantonio's defensive line coach since Dantonio led Cincinnati's program. Gill also has coached defensive line in the NFL (Carolina Panthers), CFL (Montreal Alouettes) and XFL (Los Angeles Extreme) and at another Big Ten school (Iowa). He served as Oklahoma State's defensive coordinator in 1995.

Michigan State ranked fourth nationally in total defense and eighth in rush defense last season. The Spartans' pass rush wasn't as strong as expected (93rd nationally in sacks, 42nd in tackles for loss), but the unit's overall performance certainly stood out.

Staff continuity has been a hallmark for Dantonio throughout his tenure at Michigan State. The only coaches he has lost -- Don Treadwell and Dan Enos -- left for head coaching opportunities elsewhere.

Perhaps Gill is headed for retirement after nearly four decades in coaching. We'll see. If not, this move seems odd.