Still reeling from longtime head coach Mark Dantonio’s resignation on Tuesday, Michigan State officials now must find a new football coach. There are several candidates, but the top two favorites don’t seem to want the job.
BetOnline put out odds on who will become Michigan State’s new head coach, and Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell emerged as the top choice at +200. Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi is next at +300.
Michigan State is in a tough spot in trying to find someone for the job. Intentionally or not, Dantonio’s abrupt departure from the program he led for the past 13 seasons has damaged the university. He left just one day before National Signing Day, and the Spartans lost one of three recruits that had verbally committed to the program.
Dantonio’s resignation comes after a lawsuit by a former employee alleging wrongful termination. The former assistant said that Dantonio also broke NCAA regulations in regards to recruiting. The former head coach said the lawsuit had “no relevance whatsoever” in his decision to step down.
Fickell Favorite to be New Michigan State Football Coach
Luke Fickell is the head coach at Cincinnati and had an 11-3 record last season, including going 7-1 in the American Athletic Conference. The season ended with a 38-6 victory over Boston College in the Birmingham Bowl.
In his time at Cincinnati, Fickell has rebuilt the football program to become one of the elite teams in the AAC. Fickell also has Big 10 ties, having served as the interim head coach at Ohio State in 2011. Fickell was linked to several jobs at the end of the 2019 season, but stayed with the Bearcats.
During a radio interview on Wednesday, Fickell said he hasn’t been in contact with anyone at MSU.
“I have talked to nobody, and that’s the truth,” Fickell said. “Obviously I am very good friends with Mark Dantonio. I’ve stayed in contact with him. I have not communicated with anybody except Mark Dantonio in the last three to four weeks from Michigan State. I haven’t been thinking about it, haven’t been focused on it.”
Narduzzi Denies Interest in Position
Pat Narduzzi has been the head coach at Pitt since 2014, and has amassed a 36-29 record during his time with the Panthers. He told reporters during a National Signing Day news conference that he’s not leaving.
“I came here to get a job done,” Narduzzi said. “We couldn’t be in a better situation at the University of Pittsburgh. The rumors, squash them, whatever you want to call them. “I’m here at Pitt and I want to be here at Pitt. That’s where I want to be. It’s my ultimate goal to be here at Pitt. You can’t have a coach with one foot in.”