Michigan State has elevated defensive analyst TJ Hollowell to become the team’s 10th on-field assistant, while former Spartans coach Mark Dantonio will serve in an advisory role on game days.
After suspending coach Mel Tucker without pay, athletic director Alan Haller brought back Dantonio as the team’s associate head coach. Dantonio, who went 114-57 as MSU’s coach from 2007 to 2019, will assist acting head coach Harlon Barnett in practices and meetings during the week, and will serve as an advisor on game day, beginning Saturday against No. 8 Washington at Spartan Stadium.
Hollowell will serve in a formal assistant role, and also recruit for MSU on the road. The former Nebraska and NFL linebacker joined Michigan State’s staff in 2020 after two seasons at Coastal Carolina.
“Mark Dantonio is an excellent football coach and it’s been great having him back in the building this week,” Barnett said in a statement. “Coach D brings the calming presence, the wisdom, and the knowledge of being a head coach. … In terms of the coaching staff, after evaluating our immediate needs this week, we felt that it was best served for Coach D to help in an advisory role and for TJ Hollowell to be our 10th on-field assistant coach.
“TJ has knowledge of our defensive schemes and personnel having been on staff for four seasons, which provides the most seamless transition for our program.”
Barnett, an All-American defensive back for MSU, had been coaching the Spartans’ secondary before Tucker’s suspension. He also coached defensive backs under Dantonio from 2007 to 2017 at MSU, and from 2004 to 2006 at Cincinnati.
Tucker was suspended while the university completes an investigation into claims that he sexually harassed prominent sexual assault awareness speaker Brenda Tracy. Michigan State will hold a hearing in early October to assess whether Tucker violated the school’s sexual misconduct policy.