Nov 18, 2023; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith looks up at the video board during the second half against the Washington Huskies at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Michigan State dismisses staff, hires Jonathan Smith as head coach

Michigan State dismissed its football coaching staff on Saturday and quickly moved to hire Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith to rebuild the program.

Athletic director Alan Haller made the changes a day after the Spartans ended their regular season with a 42-0 loss to No. 11 Penn State to finish 4-8 (2-7 Big Ten).

No contract terms were announced, and Smith’s hiring requires approval of the Michigan State board of trustees. The school said in a news release that Smith would be introduced on campus next week.

“Today is an exciting day for Michigan State,” Haller said. “… Jonathan has a proven track record of success, building the Oregon State program from the ground up by implementing a plan resulting in sustained historic success for the Beavers. He’s been a part of championship staffs, coached in the College Football playoff, and understands what’s required to be successful at the highest level, learning from some of the game’s most successful coaches.”

The Spartans started 2-0 on the season before then-coach Mel Tucker was suspended, and eventually fired on Sept. 27, amid an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

Michigan State was 2-8 under interim coach Harlon Barnett, who was let go. The Free Press in Detroit reported the school also won’t bring back offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton, special teams coordinator Ross Els, wide receivers coach Courtney Hawkins, tight ends coach Ted Gilmore, offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic, running backs coach Effrem Reed, defensive line coach Diron Reynolds, cornerbacks coach Jim Salgado and defensive analyst TJ Hollowell.

Barnett and Hawkins played at Michigan State.

Smith, 44, played quarterback at Oregon State from 1998-2001 but leaves his alma mater amid sweeping changes to the Pac-12. After this academic year, 10 of the 12 teams in the conference will be heading to other leagues, leaving holdovers Oregon State and Washington State with uncertain futures.

The Beavers, ranked No. 15, lost their regular-season finale 31-7 on Friday night to No. 6 Oregon. The Beavers finished the season 8-4 (5-4 Pac-12), pushing Smith’s record there to 34-35 in six seasons. In the past three seasons, the Beavers are 25-13.

“This year, Oregon State has controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, ranking among the nation’s leaders in both rushing offense and rushing defense. He’s shown not only the ability to recruit talented student-athletes who fit his system, but also to develop and maximize players once they’re in the program,” Haller said.

Smith previously worked as an assistant coach at Washington (2014-17), Boise State (2012-13), Montana (2010-11) and Idaho (2004-09).

The Spartans had one winning season in Tucker’s three full campaigns in East Lansing, going 11-2 (7-2 Big Ten) in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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