The War Room: Go Inside The Michigan State Football Coaching Search
Hondo S. Carpenter
The War Room: Go Inside The Michigan State Football Coaching Search
I get a lot of nuggets and information that alone are not big enough for a story. When I have a few that I can assemble, I will, and when I only have one or two, I will post them on our community board. So, welcome to The War Room.
* The MSU search is going to be fascinating. Spartan Nation first reported on August 20, 2019, that I was aware of rumblings from people close to Dantonio that he would resign after signing day in a move to get Mike Tressel hired, like Bob Stoops did with Oklahoma. I wrote, "I have heard that scenario from several people. I have also reported previously of more than one person at MSU, saying that AD Bill Beekman has talked to them about Mike Tressel as a successor. I asked two members of the Board of Trustees (who hire the AD, Football & Men's Basketball Coach at MSU) about that. Both said nearly the same thing. But here is a quote from one of them directly, "Bill and Mark if that is true needs to understand their job and hiring the next coach is our job, not theirs." Dantonio was asked at Big Ten Media days about an end plan, and he said he is, "In the moment." I did specifically ask him about many at MSU and other places speculating on this being the end, and he told me, "I am in the moment." He then smiled and walked away."
* That is why I asked Bill Beekman about the search last night and the fact that the Board of Trustees will make the hire.
* In my opinion, anything that the MSU Board of Trustees has the authority to do should concern every Spartan. The MSU Board of Trustees has given Spartan Nation reason to doubt their ability.
* I can tell you that reports that a "deal" with Luke Fickell is imminent are NOT accurate. I am NOT saying that he won't get it, I am merely saying there is nothing close to a deal.
* AD Bill Beekman has hired Glenn Sugiyama (DHR International) as his search firm to help. Beekman last night hinted that nothing had been done, and I found that strange. Glenn is the guy.
* For the record, I think Sugiyama was a big mistake. But that is for another article.
* Here are the names that Spartan Nation can confirm are getting looked at and at least on a list. We will update you as more come on the list or leave it. They are in NO PARTICULAR order.
* Luke Fickell is the head coach at Cincinnati.
* Marvin Lewis DC Arizona State.
* Pat Shurmur former NFL OC & head coach.
* Pat Narduzzi is the head coach at Pittsburgh.
* Robert Saleh DC San Francisco 49ers.
* Butch Jones former head coach currently on staff with Nick Saban.
* Jim McElwain, the head coach at CMU.
* Craig Bohl head coach at Wyoming.
* Matt Campbell, the head coach at Iowa State.
* Mel Tucker, the head coach at Colorado.
* We spoke to two senior members of the administration early this morning. Neither knew the other was talking to us. We discussed these names and got their thoughts.
* Luke Fickell is a great coach. He is a proven winner and talent evaluator and developer. According to a member of the administration who spoke to Spartan Nation, "He is Dantonio's guy. Once Mark realized he wasn't going to get the job for Mike (Tressel), he is all in on Luke. Great coach. The biggest concern is that he is tied tight to Dantonio, and it is time to move on from Mark Dantonio."
* Marvin Lewis is a proven coach. Strong NFL ties who had the job, but turned it down and that led to John L. Smith being handed the job. According to a member of the administration, "Lewis would be great. He has all the resume you could want and I think his NFL itch got scratched. He would be terrific."
* Pat Shurmur brings strong NFL and MSU ties. He is well-liked and respected at MSU. He is a Spartan. According to a member of the administration, "There is no drawback with Pat. He is the safest pick. Already knows everything about us (Michigan State) with an NFL resume. All camps can support him."
* Pat Narduzz has done a great job at MSU, while people understand the things that hurt Pitt. They play in the ACC but aren't down south. No on-campus stadium hurts in recruiting as well. According to a member of the administration, "He would be an excellent hire. I am not sure fans here would understand how tough it is to win more than eight games there. People here love him, and he had the vision to get out, and the program took the downturn."
* Robert Saleh is a brilliant football mind, and the DC fro the 49ers. A great coach as well, but no head coaching experience. Do you want a coach to come to MSU to learn how to be a head coach? Strong MSU ties, he could be an excellent hire. According to a member of the administration, "He could be special, but he wants to be an NFL head coach. There were the same concerns with Marvin Lewis, would he come and jump quick (To the NFL). I think he would. He is being pushed strongly by one trustee."
* Butch Jones has been a successful head coach everywhere he went. A native Michigander and presently works on the staff of Nick Saban. According to a member of the administration, "Another guy who would be a great hire. Have to look at him. If Nick loves him, that got Dantonio the job. Not a sexy hire, not sure he would inspire the fans. We need that; they are down."
* Jim McElwain is a great recruiter, proven winner, and has MSU ties. According to a member of the administration, "Again we see a guy that is proven. Safe, but would he inspire like some others? Good pick."
* Craig Bohl's name surprised me this morning. One of the administrators I spoke to last night told me again this morning, "His name has me thinking. Nebraska ties won all those titles in North Dakota and done great at Wyoming and that is hard to do. Don't think he is sexy enough, but think Glenn (Sugiyama) is going to kick the tires."
* Matt Campbell would be a home run. Many thought he was the heir apparent to Urban Meyer, but Ryan Day came on the scene and ran with it. A terrific coach, person, and all-around grand slam. According to a member of the administration, "He would be a flashy hire. Midwest roots, recruits the hell out of the Midwest. Can't miss. Don't think we could get him."
* Mel Tucker is an intriguing coach. Quality man and coach, a proven winner. According to a member of the administration, “Like everything about him, but his buyout would make it tough. Would be a great coach.”
* I can also tell you that while MSU is content to take their time, they feel, "We would like to have this done in a week, ten days at the most," according to an administrator familiar with Beekman's mindset.
* As far as Mike Tressel keeping the job? According to two members of the administration, they shared the same sentiments. "If that happens, we crashed and burned. That can't and won't happen."
* On to Bill Beekman. For fans that thought he wasn't proactive, he was. He made it 100% clear to Dantonio that he would give him any amount of money necessary to get the assistants he needed.
* I asked Dantonio on signing day about being told by recruits that they were being told, "No changes would be made." Dantonio refused to comment, but after that exchange, I had two members of his staff tell me that, "He told us no changes."
* More than one told me that they felt disappointed that he said that to them and then left.
* I had one of the football team's key leaders stop by my son and me after a game this past season. He told me, with my son standing there, "I know the coach is mad at you. But you aren't saying anything that isn't true. Keep it real, man." When we got to the car, considering who the player was, my son said, "Dad, it is awful isn't it?" It was. Now it's time to move on.
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