Profiling the MSU Football Assistant Coaches: QB Coach Dave Warner

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Dave Warner brings a wealth of experience to his role as the MSU QB coach.  Photo courtesy of the MSU SID.

Dave Warner brings a wealth of experience to his role as the MSU QB coach. Photo courtesy of the MSU SID.

Michigan State’s quarterbacks coach Dave Warner certainly has been around the block. Now in his twenty-seventh year of coaching, Warner enters his fifth season with the Spartans. Michigan State is the tenth school that Warner has coached at. Despite bouncing around a lot, Warner has truly found a home at Michigan State with Mark Dantonio and the Green and White.

           The MSU quarterbacks coach started out himself as a star quarterback for Lehighton High School in Pennsylvania. The high school standout chose Syracuse University, in order to play for the Orange. Warner was a three-time letter winner, starting for two years as a QB. In his senior season, he racked up 1,445 passing yards. After earning a bachelor’s degree in speech communication in 1982, Warner tried his luck in the NFL. Unfortunately, he failed to win a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles, and turned to coaching later in 1982. Returning to his alma mater, Warner became a graduate assistant. He remained in that position for two years before he was promoted to running backs coach in 1984.

After two years in that role, he was hired by Kent State to be the team’s quarterbacks coach. He remained with the Kent State Flashes under Glen Mason until the 1988 season, when he followed Mason to Kansas. It was at Kansas where Warner met Mark Dantonio, as Dantonio was the secondary coach from 1991-94. Warner stayed with the Jayhawks until Mason defected to Minnesota after the 1996 season. After Warner realized great stability at Kansas for nine years, he bounced around college football for the better part of the next decade. Over the course of the next eight seasons, Warner coached for five different schools. In 1997, he coached the quarterbacks at Bucknell University. One year later he headed to Wyoming to oversee the team’s passing game. In 1999, he went to Connecticut to be the team’s offensive coordinator. After two seasons there, he once again became a passing game coordinator, this time at Houston as opposed to Wyoming. Warner was a coordinator for Wyoming  for two years before he became the wide receivers coach at Southern Miss. After spending the 2003 and 2004 seasons there, he took a season off before he became the quarterbacks coach at the University of Cincinnati for Mark Dantonio. When Coach Dantonio headed for Michigan State, Warner followed, taking up the quarterbacks coach role there as well.

           Warner is now in his fifth season as quarterbacks coach at MSU under Coach Dantonio. Over the course of his time with the Spartans, Warner has tutored stellar quarterbacks such as current New England Patriot Brian Hoyer, current Spartan starter Kirk Cousins, and rising star Andrew Maxwell. Warner has emphasized two key points with his quarterbacks: manage the game and make good decisions. He also coaches that it is key to have a “burning desire” to be a great quarterback: ““Having a burning desire allows you to work beyond what normal guys do,” says Warner. So far, all of his quarterbacks have had this intangible. Consequently, Hoyer completed 500 passes (the third-most in MSU history) for 6,159 (3rd), and 35 touchdowns (7th) in the two seasons that he started at QB. Cousins is not far behind Hoyer, with 456 passes completed (6th) for 5,817 passing yards (4th), and 41 touchdowns (6th).

           Other members of the coaching staff are eager to give Warner praise: “We're very lucky to have Coach Warner coaching the quarterbacks,” said offensive coordinator Dan Roushar in an interview in February. The quarterbacks coach is very happy to have the opportunity to coach for the Spartans, especially at Spartan Stadium: “It’s an incredible experience, each fall, to stand on the sideline and coach in Spartan Stadium,” says Warner. “Spartan fans are first class. It’s an awesome venue and a true highlight of my career”. Not only does Warner find it exciting to spend his Saturdays at Spartan Stadium, he also finds it great to be representing Michigan State: “Our experience since arriving to MSU has been exceptional. It’s a great university to work for and a great university to represent.” Above all, Warner says: “I’m proud to be a Spartan.”