EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was hospitalized Sunday after suffering a mild heart attack shortly after an overtime victory against Notre Dame.
The 54-year-old Dantonio was taken to Sparrow Hospital hours after the game and had surgery to put a stent in a blocked blood vessel leading to the heart, which allowed blood flow to be restored. The coach is expected to remain in the hospital for at least a few more days.
“Damage to the heart muscle was minimal. I think he’s going to do very well,” said Dr. Chris D’Haem, who performed the relatively common procedure. “Coach Dantonio is resting comfortably following his procedure and is expected to make a full recovery.”
Team members were notified of the situation Sunday, and offensive coordinator Don Treadwell will lead the team during Dantonio’s indefinite absence. Dantonio won’t be on the sidelines when the No. 25 Spartans play Northern Colorado on Saturday.
“This is a time for Spartan Nation to rally around Coach D and the football program,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said. “We all look forward to his return to the sidelines. The thoughts of the entire Spartan family are with Coach D, his wife Becky and his daughters Kristen and Lauren.”
Dantonio certainly isn’t the first high-profile coach to experience health problems.
Florida coach Urban Meyer was hospitalized with chest pains in December after his Gators lost the Southeastern Conference championship game to Alabama. A couple weeks later, Meyer resigned citing health concerns, but less than 24 hours later, he took back his resignation.
Meyer was later diagnosed esophageal spams and he is taking medication to fight the problem.
Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill was hospitalized recently because of dehydration, Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker was hospitalized with complications from diabetes, and Notre Dame assistant Mike Elston was released from the hospital after a viral illness.
D’Haem said heredity can play a part in heart problems, but noted that Dantonio kept in good shape and tracked factors such as cholesterol that can lead to problems.
“Everybody that knows Coach Dantonio knows he keeps pretty fit,” the doctor said.
Dantonio went to the hospital soon after making an audacious call that led to one of the biggest wins of his career – and one of the signature moments of the season so far.
He decided to fake a field goal that could’ve forced a second overtime against the Irish, choosing instead to have holder Aaron Bates throw a pass that turned into a 29-yard touchdown that lifted the Spartans to a 34-31 victory.
The win put Michigan State in this week’s Associated Press poll at No. 25.
When Dantonio got to the hospital, “his immediate concern was to his family and then to the football program,” Hollis said.
AP Sports Writer Larry Lage reported from Detroit.
© 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.