Nov 16, 2023 - Sports

Struggling Spartans search for a football coach

A player grabbing another player who has the ball.

Rutgers defensive back Robert Longerbeam forces a fumble on MSU receiver Alante Brown in October. Photo: Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Michigan State is looking for a new coach to get its football program back on track after Mel Tucker's dismissal.

State of play: Interim coach Harlon Barnett is leading the team in the wake of Tucker's scandal. But his chances of keeping the job are slim — the Spartans (3-7) have been dreadful under his watch.

Between the lines: MSU probably won't break the bank for a new coach after Tucker's disastrous $95 million deal.

Of note: The university is also looking for a new president.

🔮 Here's a list of possible candidates for the football job:

  • Lance Leipold, Kansas: He's being mentioned for job openings across the country for turning around the Jayhawks' lackluster football program. Experience is a strength — previously he was Buffalo's coach for six years.
  • Mike Elko, Duke: The reigning ACC coach of the year led the Blue Devils to a 9-4 record last season. This year's team started strong but has lost three of its last four games.
  • Jonathan Smith, Oregon State: The up-and-comer might be looking for a higher profile job with the Beavers' possible move to the Mountain West conference next season.
  • Other possibilities include Toledo coach Jason Candle and UCLA coach Chip Kelly.

Reality check: Former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer's name has been floated but he appears to be a long shot at this point.


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