Michigan State has placed Mel Tucker on leave due to a sexual harassment investigation. They may be firing him soon and the Spartans could be looking for a new head coach. Here are five potential head coach candidates for Michigan State.
1. Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell is currently the head coach at Iowa State. In his time with the Cyclones, Campbell has posted a 47-43 record. It has been a great job, as Iowa State doesn’t have the most success historically. Before being the head coach at Iowa State, he was the head coach at Toledo where he had a 35-15 record. He also spent time as an assistant with Mount Union, Bowling Green and Toledo.
Michigan State could be getting a fresh start with Campbell. He knows the Midwest well and has shown that he can win, even when his team isn’t as talented. While he seems to be loyal to Iowa State, things have started to take a downturn and he could be looking for a fresh start that is closer to home.
2. Pat Narduzzi
Narduzzi will end up on plenty of lists to be the next Michigan State head coach. He is the Pittsburgh head coach right now and has posted a 63-42 record with the Panthers. The best season he has posted was in 2021, when Pitt won 11 games, including the ACC Championship. Before his time at Pitt, he was a defensive coordinator under Mark Dantonio. He also had stops as an assistant at Cincinnati, Miami (Ohio), Northern Illinois and Rhode Island.
With his ties to the program, Narduzzi could be a candidate to take the job. Dantonio is coming back in a role with the program and he could influence the decision so that Narduzzi is hired. His success at Pitt makes him qualified for the job, although Michigan State could be looking to turn over a new page in their program’s history.
3. Lance Leipold
Leipold has done wonders for the Kansas football program. He has led Kansas to a 10-17 record. Things started slowly with a 2-10 record, but he righted the ship last season, as he took them to a bowl game. So far this season, Kansas is 2-0 and things look bright. He had success at Buffalo before that with a 37-33 record, which was bolstered by a 10-win season in 2018.
After his bowl appearance last season with Kansas, Leipold ended up as a potential candidate for plenty of jobs last offseason. The Wisconsin native knows the Midwest and has proven he can turn programs around. In a weird situation at Michigan State, Leipold could turn things around if given the time.
4. Jason Candle
Candle took over for Matt Campbell at Toledo and has kept things rolling. In nine seasons, he has posted a 55-33 record. He helped the team win 11 games in 2017 and last season won nine games. Candle was an assistant for Toledo and Mount Union before getting the head coaching job.
Michigan State would be getting an Ohio native who knows the area well. Candle has coached well and would be a solid hire. Hiring Candle would also be a way to find someone new to change the culture and program around. While it might be hard to lure current power five (or power four) coaches to Michigan State, the Spartans could entice Candle, who coaches in the MAC.
5. Jesse Minter
Minter is the current Michigan defensive coordinator. He has helped the Wolverines make the College Football Playoff last season. Before that, he was the defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt. He has also been an assistant at Georgia State, Indiana State, Cincinnati and Notre Dame, as well as with the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL.
Not only would hiring Minter give Michigan State an up and coming coach who is familiar with the area, it would also hurt their rivals Michigan. Minter has a lot on his plate this season with Jim Harbaugh being suspended for the first few games of the season. If he decides he’s ready for a head coaching job, Michigan State could be a good fit.
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