Head Coach | 2004-2006
Mark Dantonio is still wildly unpopular in some Bearcats circles, and not without reason. The way he departed for Michigan State left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, including the players, many of whom where blindsided by the news. All that considered Dantonio's lasting contribution to the program is too hard to ignore. Not only did he score the victory that put UC on the radar, the biggest in school history, but he set Brian Kelly up to succeed.
He laid the groundwork for the rebirth of the program in the Brian Kelly years. His guys formed the backbone of the defense that carried the Bearcats in 2007 and especially 2008 with an ever rotating cast of characters under center. Terrill Byrd, Mike Mickens and co kept the ship steady through it all. The dominant figures on that team were almost without exception Dantonio's guys, and that's a really big piece of evidence to overlook. If someone makes the 150 for 150 list I would suspect that the luxury of time would push Dantonio closer to the top 30 or 40. For now the acrimonious departure leaves him down in the 60's.