After 13 seasons with the team, Mark Dantonio decided to step down from coaching Michigan State. It is an odd time to step down for a college football program, but now the Spartans need to move forward. Here are five potential head coaching candidates for Michigan State football.
1. Luke Fickell
The last time Michigan State needed a head coach they got Dantonio from Cincinnati. Now Cincinnati has another coach that has earned the right to get a better job. Luke Fickell took over the Bearcats before the 2017 season and has compiled a 23-16 record. Over the last two years, Fickell has taken Cincinnati to another level with two 11-win seasons.
Fickell played at Ohio State and coached their as well. He knows the Big Ten and can recruit Ohio, which is a huge pipeline for Michigan State. The Spartans won’t do much better than Fickell this late in the coaching carousel.
2. Pat Narduzzi
Narduzzi was the Michigan State Defensive Coordinator from 2007-2014 and could be lured back. Since then, he has been the head coach of Pitt. In five seasons, Narduzzi has posted a 36-29 record. The Panthers have appeared in four bowl games and won one.
The only question for Narduzzi is whether he would want to move on from Pitt. Michigan State plays in one of the toughest divisions in football, while Pitt is currently in an ACC that didn’t produce a lot of good teams. If they offer him, Narduzzi will at least consider taking the job.
3. Mike Tressel
Tressel was named interim head coach after Dantonio stepped down. He was the defensive coordinator for the Spartans for the last two seasons and has been with the program since 2007. His name likely sounds familiar because he is the brother of former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.
His familiarity with the program could make him a good candidate. Because Dantonio stepped down right before National Signing Day, recruits may prefer some continuity. Other coaches being considered may prefer to stick with their programs because it is so late in the process to start rebuilding a team.
4. Jason Candle
Jason Candle took over the Toledo program after Matt Campbell left for Iowa State. He has a 34-19 record with the program. They have gone at least .500 in each year Campbell has been the head coach. In 2017, Campbell led the program to an 11-win season.
Michigan State may look to Candle to be the next head coach, as he is close to Michigan State and has had some success. He will also be able to recruit Ohio, as he has done so already. If some of the bigger names on this list are passed over, Candle could accept the job.
5. Chris Creighton
He was given one of the hardest jobs in the FBS and Chris Creighton completely turned around the program. At EMU, Creighton won three games over his first two seasons. In the last four seasons, Creighton has won 25 games. The Eagles have made three bowl games in his time at the helm.
Creighton has shown he can do a lot with a little over his time at EMU. With more resources and a brand name school at Michigan State, Creighton could take things to the next level. Coaching in the area should help give his cause a boost.