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MSU coach Jonathan Smith adds 11 new coaches to football staff

December 7, 2023
<p>Michigan State's newly minted Head Football Coach Jonathan Smith welcomed by the crowd during the men's basketball game against Georgia Southern at the Jack BReslin Student Events Center on Nov. 28, 2023. The Spartans went on to win 86-55.</p>

Michigan State's newly minted Head Football Coach Jonathan Smith welcomed by the crowd during the men's basketball game against Georgia Southern at the Jack BReslin Student Events Center on Nov. 28, 2023. The Spartans went on to win 86-55.

Photo by Henry Szymecko | The State News

Since being hired as the new head coach of Michigan State football, Jonathan Smith has announced the crew he's gathered to join him in East Lansing, according to an MSU Athletics press release.

Smith said these 11 new coaches are "an experienced staff with a proven track record," according to the press release.

His secondary coach is Blue Adams. Adams has nearly 15 years of coaching experience at both the college and NFL level. He spent a few seasons with Smith at Oregon State, helping coach the team to an 8-4 record in 2023, and has led six different teams to a bowl game.

Another hire is Keith Bhonapha, who will serve as his assistant head coach, and running back coach. He has had 20 years of coaching experience, most recently again with Smith at Oregon State.

Brian Lindgren has been hired as the new MSU offensive coordinator/quarterback coach for the season. He was with Smith at Oregon State for six seasons. While coaching the offensive line, the team was recognized as semifinalists for the Joe Moore award — given to a team's top offensive line in 2021.

Jim Michalczik was hired as the run game coordinator/offensive line coach. He's coached 17 different teams to a bowl game and has been with Smith and OSU for six total seasons.

On the defensive line, Smith added Legi Suiaunoa. Suiaunoa coached for six seasons with Smith at OSU, and with him at Montana in 2011. He coached the team to being second ranked in the PAC-12 for the defensive line and 36 sacks on the season.

Brian Wozniak was hired as the tight ends/recruiting coordinator after helping Smith during his time at Oregon State. He has guided three teams to a bowl game and played in five while in Wisconsin. 

Mike McDonald took over the role of head strength and conditioning coach. Not only did McDonald coach with Smith at OSU, but also at Washington and Boise State. He has helped coach 11 teams to a bowl game and played in two.

Dan Van De Riet has been named as the chief of staff. He also held this position at Oregon State and has served as a coach for 20 years, serving various roles from 2001-2014. He has helped coach 13 teams in bowl games.

Cole Moore has now been hired as a general manager on the team. He was named the director of player personnel in February of 2022 and will now join Smith at MSU to continue his career.

Smith hired Michael Doctor as the director of recruiting and player relations after serving the same job at Oregon State with Smith. He was a defensive back for the team from 2010-2014. He played in bowl games in 2013 and 2012 and coached during bowl games in 2021 and 2022.

Last but not least, Austin D’Armond was added as the director of recruiting communications. He spent two seasons as the assistant director or recruiting at Oregon State and now has joined Smith to serve as the director.

The coaches now await players in the transfer portal and an upcoming season to turn the program around.

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