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Brady Hoke Apologizes for U-M’s Stake Incident at Michigan State

Brady Hoke and Mark Dantonio meet before Michigan and Michigan State kicked off Saturday, Oct. 25. (Getty Images)

Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke apologized to MSU coach Mark Dantonio on Sunday for his team driving a stake into the Spartan Stadium turf during pregame of Saturday’s rivalry game.

The incident had drawn the ire of Spartan players and coaches.

“I want to publicly apologize to Coach Dantonio as well as the players and supporters of Michigan State for our act of poor sportsmanship displayed pre-game yesterday,” Hoke said in a statement released Sunday. “I spoke with Mark earlier today and expressed to him that we meant no disrespect to his team. During our regular Friday night team meeting, one of the topics presented to motivate our team was a history lesson addressing commitment and teamwork in a tough environment. A tent stake was presented to the team as a symbol of this concept. The stake was brought into our locker room as a visual reminder, and one of our team leaders chose to take it out on the field.

“As the leader of our football program, I take full responsibility for the actions of our team,” Hoke continued. “We believe in displaying a high level of respect at the University of Michigan and unfortunately that was not reflected by this action prior to kickoff.”

Multiple media outlets capture photos and video clearly showing Michigan’s Joe Bolden driving the stake into the ground. MSU players and coaches had harsh words for that after the Spartans’ 35-11 win, including Dantonio.

“You might as well just come out and say what you’re feeling at some point, because I can only be diplomatic for so long,” Dantonio said in Saturday’s postgame press conference. “The little brother stuff, all the disrespect, it didn’t have to go in that direction… That doesn’t come from the coach, that comes from the program.

“Throwing the stake down in our backyard out here and coming out here like they’re all that… We were’nt going to cool off it,” he added, noting the Spartans punched in a late touchdown as retribution. “It just felt like we needed to put a stake in them at that point.”

In his Sunday evening teleconference with media, Dantonio said Hoke did call him and apologize for the incident.

“Coach Hoke, Brady, did call me, but I think that conversation should probably be private,” he said. “Brady and I have a good relationship and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Check out Dantonio’s and Hoke’s comments about the stake incident from Saturday’s postgame in the videos below.

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