Tuesday, June 18, 2024

List of possible replacements for Williams continues to grow

With Bobby Williams out the door and Morris Watts destined to make his exit in December, MSU should garner plenty of interest from talented coordinators and coaches across the country.

Watts, who doesn't want the job, called the position a "hell of an opportunity," despite the pressures that come with Big Ten coaching.

"There comes more media pressure, there comes more fan pressure and more pressure to win," Watts said. "But I promise you, the only way you can win at this level is if you have that type of an atmosphere. That makes Michigan State University a great job, because you've got an atmosphere where players look and say it's important to win."

High on speculation lists is Urban Meyer, head coach of Bowling Green. Meyer, 38, is 16-3 in two and a half seasons with the Falcons and seems to be a leading candidate for the MSU job. He was the consensus 2001 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year.

Before taking over Bowling Green, Meyer served as a receivers coach - among other responsibilities - at Notre Dame, Colorado State, Illinois State and Ohio State. An Ohio native, Meyer holds degrees from Cincinnati and Ohio State.

With those Midwestern ties, a spectacular record and a reputation for strong character, Meyer seems like one of the best possibilities.

But many Spartan fans would love to see Steve Mariucci leave his head coaching days with the San Francisco 49ers behind and join best friend Tom Izzo in East Lansing.

Fellow Iron Mountain native Izzo gave that scenario less than 1 percent chance of happening.

"I can't speak for him," Izzo said. "I don't know who the next coach will be, but I don't think it'll be Steve Mariucci."

Moving on, there are several coaches who interviewed for the job in 2000 who might be interested again. One, Glen Mason, Minnesota's head coach, has a reputation for turning around struggling problems.

He served nine years at Kansas, registering four winning seasons, before taking over the Golden Gophers. In his six years at Minnesota, he has guided the team to two bowl games and seems destined for a third this year.

Mason, 52, has also served as Kent State's head coach and he was an offensive coordinator at Ohio State in the early 1980s.

Down South, Oklahoma associate head coach and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, 39, will be on every job list this year.

A graduate of Iowa, Stoops has ties to the Big Ten, but it's not known whether that will be enough to lure him from his brother Bob's coaching staff at Oklahoma.

Stoops is in his fourth year with the Sooners after spending three seasons as a co-defensive coordinator at Kansas State. He has never been a head coach.

Another defensive coordinator, Mark Dantonio at Ohio State, will also probably get consideration for the Spartan job.

Dantonio spent six seasons at MSU in the mid-to-late 1990s. With the Spartans, Dantonio coached the defensive backs and was promoted to associate head coach during Bobby Williams' first year.

For the last two seasons, Dantonio has guided one of the nation's best defenses at Ohio State.

His coaching résumé also includes stops at Purdue, Ohio, Akron, Youngstown State and Kansas. He has never been a head coach.

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