Luke Fickell told Michigan State to get lost!!
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If you haven’t been obsessively refreshing Twitter or any other “source” for the past 5 days but would like a recap of events that have happened so far in Michigan State’s search for a replacement of the newly retired Mark Dantonio this is what you’ve been looking for.
I have no idea if Luke Fickell will stay or go. I know he’s making $2.4 million at UC and could easily double that at Michigan State and that would only be a middle of the road salary for the Big 10.
“I don’t know if there’s a better place for my family to continue to grow and do the things they love to do. There are so many wins that align with not just the university, but the cit to make it a great place for anybody, but even a better place for me.”-Luke Fickell on Cincinnati
Anyway, here we go.
Dantonio retired as of Feb. 4th, 2020. The next day Fickell capped off the best recruiting class in UC football history. Rivals has it ranked as the 39th best in the country.
Fickell’s name was immediately at the top of everyone’s list of potential replacements.
In addition to Fickell others have been mentioned as well. Pat Narduzzi, head head coach at Pitt was right up there since he was Dantonio’s defensive coordinator from 2007-14.
Narduzzi quickly shut that down with this “all time” tweet.
Mel Tucker, the head coach at Colorado U was also mentioned to be a candidate and was said to have interviewed for the job on Saturday but he put out an official statement via twitter:
San Francisco 49er’s DC Robert Saleh got a call from Michigan State requesting an interview but told the University that he plans on staying with the 49ers to take care of unfinished business. Translation: they just lost the Super Bowl and think they can make it back next year to win it all.
Others that have been mentioned here or there are Iowa State cocah Matt Campbell, Arkansas State Blake Anderson, Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson, Indiana Coach Tom Allen, Clemson’s offensive coordinator Tony Elliot, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, Wyoming’s Craig Bohl, Buffalo’s Lance Leipold, former Bengals HC Marvin Lewis (who now works for Herm Edwards at AZ St)
Michigan State promoted Mike Tressel to interim head coach earlier this week but it doesn’t seem likely he’ll be in the position for long.
So if the other candidates publicly announced they’re not interested in the job who does that leave to interview? As of Sunday evening I have not see any reports of Michigan State interviewing anyone else. I don’t know if they plan to interview anyone else or if it’s Fickell’s job to take or decline. I do know that MSU AD Bill Beekman was in Cincinnati on Sunday to interview Fickell and we could know his decision within the next 24-48 hours.
This report had people shook on twitter with the mystery of who could be the two new people that boarded the plane.
It turns out that it wasn’t the Fickell’s.
According to the Detroit Free Press Michigan State’s committee for finding a new coach is expected to meet Monday and as of Sunday evening, MSU was not in a contract stage with any candidate. Which could be telling. It’s been reported that their Board of Trustees are scheduled to meet this Friday.
Trouble in Sparty Land
Why isn’t this a no brainer?
First of all, the timing is way off for any coach who takes the job. The recruits are in and the time to put your imprint on the program wouldn’t start until after next season. Additionally, Dantonio is being sued by an ex staffer for wrongful termination. A guy who says MSU committed multiple NCAA violations for recruiting. That is on top of allegations that Dantonio arranged employment for the parents of two Michigan State football players. Add in the ongoing Larry Nassar saga and you have a lot of potential for Michigan State to be hit hard with NCAA sanctions. I mean, it’s not like they’re North Carolina and can hand out fake degrees and get away with it.
It’s believed that Fickell ultimately wants to get to Ohio State or Notre Dame. Does taking a Michigan State job help him achieve that?
Somewhere in the mix of this chaos UC DC Marcus Freeman declined to take a position with the Tennessee Titans. UC RB coach Doug Phillips jumped ship for an opportunity to run his own program at Youngstown State.
The best of luck to Coach Phillips at YSU.
Stay tuned as this post will be updated as more news develops in #FickellWatch2020