For Spartan fans, the 2023 College Football Season was supposed to be one to remember with the marquee NCAAF betting sites highly favoring Michigan State. But with Head Coach Mel Tucker’s firing catching the College Football world and Spartan fans by surprise, The Spartans find themselves trying to salvage this football season, while planning for their long-term future in the off-season. In recent days, four candidates in particular have made headlines as possible Head Coach candidates for the 2024 College Football Season.
A Fan Base Blindsided
The Michigan State football program faced significant upheaval in the 2023 season with the suspension and eventual firing of head coach Mel Tucker in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal with a female assistant. This abrupt change in leadership disrupted the team’s continuity early in the season.
In response to the coaching shakeup, the Spartans promoted secondary coach Harlon Barnett to the role of interim head coach. Additionally, Michigan State’s athletic director, Alan Haller, initiated a nationwide search for a permanent head coach.
The pressure is on Alan Haller to properly vet evaluate candidates’ evaluating coaching backgrounds, achievements, and their potential fit with the program’s goals and culture. More so than restoring the program to winning and Bowl game success, the next Michigan State coach has to help turn the page on the damning scandal that has angered many Spartan fans, and eroded female support. These following four men have been linked to the vacant MSU Football Head Coach job.
Lance Leipold (Kansas)
Leipold is known for his successful coaching stints at various levels, including Division III and FBS. He has a proven track record of building programs, making him a potential candidate for Michigan State despite his age.
Jake Dickert (Washington State)
Dickert has recently gained attention due to his coaching success at Washington State. He has led the team to a strong start in the 2023 season, showcasing his ability to helm a high-powered offense. However, his limited experience as a head coach might be a concern.
Mark Stoops (Kentucky)
Stoops has done an impressive job at Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to multiple bowl appearances and achieving 10-win seasons. However, his hefty contract and the buyout associated with it might make him a challenging candidate for Michigan State.
P.J. Fleck (Minnesota)
Fleck is known for his successful tenure at Western Michigan and Minnesota. He has transformed programs and achieved notable victories. While he hasn’t won a Big Ten championship, he has brought success to Minnesota, making him a candidate for Michigan State.
After the Final Whistle
It appears there is a difference in opinion among fans and experts about their suitability for the Michigan State coaching position. These opinions may stem from various factors, such as coaching achievements, conference competitiveness, and potential challenges each candidate might face in the role.
Right now, Michigan State is sitting on a dreadful 3-6 record. Their anemic offense ranks 203rd in the nation. Michigan State will have to do better come next year, if they hope to compete against their Big Ten Rivals, Michigan, who’s going through a scandal of their own, and the Ohio State Buckeyes. While Michigan’s Head Coach, Jim Harbaugh is making headlines for all the wrong reasons, because his Wolverines are ranked third in the nation, critics and fans are much more forgiving.
It’s important to note that coaching decisions are influenced by numerous factors, including team dynamics, recruiting strategies, and long-term program goals. The final selection will likely be based on a thorough evaluation of these factors by the Michigan State athletic department and whether or not these candidates have any past baggage that might blossom into public scandals.