EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio received the 2016 Gene Stallings Award at a banquet Monday night in Dallas, Texas. Stallings, who coached Alabama to the 1992 National Championship, presented the award to Dantonio at the Dallas Country Club.
The Stallings Award, now in its fifth year, was created to honor college football head coaches who are also humanitarians and strive to promote healthy, vibrant communities through charitable and community service efforts.
The Stallings Award, presented by Dr. Pepper, raises money for children with disabilities as a tribute to Johnny Stallings, Gene’s late son who was born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect. Raising more than $1.1 million in its first five years, the Stallings Award will benefit The Rise School of Dallas, a nonprofit preschool for children with developmental disabilities.
In addition to Dantonio’s numerous accomplishments as head football coach at Michigan State, which include a school-record three Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013, 2015), nine consecutive bowl appearances and an 87-33 record since 2007, he has been an active member of the Mid-Michigan community. Dantonio and his wife, Becky, have hosted a women’s football clinic for the past eight years, with proceeds going to local charities. The most recent clinic in April benefited the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing.
Dantonio was named honorary chairman of the Children’s Miracle Network at the Sparrow Children Center’s in Lansing in 2009 and has played an integral role in helping children throughout Mid-Michigan region get the medical care they need. Dantonio and his staff have also hosted CMN telethons that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
For his efforts in the community, Dantonio was named a 2015 finalist for the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, which annually honors the coach of a team with a successful season on the field and equally as important, stresses the importance of academic excellence and desire to give back to the community.
From his first day on the job, Dantonio has pledged to support student-athletes as they pursue excellence, both in the classroom and on the playing field. In his first nine seasons, a total of 161 players have earned their undergraduate degrees. In addition, 114 Spartans have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, including seven Academic All-America selections. Michigan State has also placed three student-athletes in the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Class in the past five years.