On Tuesday, Mark Dantonio announced that he was stepping down as head coach at Michigan State. The decision itself may not have been a total shock, but the timing—one day before National Signing Day—certainly was.
Mike Tressel has been elevated to interim head coach for the Spartans. Some believe the timing of Dantonio’s move was, in part, to try and get Tressel a real shot at the full-time job. Per new reports, MSU is looking outside of the program at potential coaching hires for the upcoming season. Pulling a top coach at this time of the year may be very difficult.
Iowa State’s Matt Campbell is apparently one major name targeted by the Spartans. The Cyclones coach has been one of the hottest commodities in football, since elevating the program from 3-9 in 2016, his first season, to 8-5 the next year. Campbell is 26-25 with an 18-18 record in the Big 12, at what is seen as one of the more difficult Power Five jobs in the country.
Before taking over Iowa State, Campbell won back-to-back division titles at Toledo, topping out at 10-2 in 2015. He went 36-15 with a 24-8 MAC record in four-plus seasons with the Rockets. There, he shaped his reputation as one of the more innovative offensive coaches in the sport. The big question is: what will be Matt Campbell’s next step?
He’s been tabbed as an option for some of the biggest jobs in the country that have come open in recent years. He also reportedly has the attention of the NFL. Michigan State is obviously a very good job, and one with a high ceiling, as Dantonio proved during his tenure. It is not one that Campbell is ready to jump to, though.
From the Des Moines Register:
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell quickly rebuffed a Michigan State overture on Tuesday after longtime Spartans coach Mark Dantonio resigned, a source with direct knowledge of the interest told the Register.
The source said Campbell made it clear he had no interest in the opening, which unexpectedly came open after Dantonio stepped down amid allegations by his former recruiting coordinator that he committed NCAA recruiting violations.
Iowa State has repeatedly extended Campbell to try and keep him in Ames as long as possible. In all likelihood, a big program or franchise will come calling at some point, but Cyclone fans have to feel good about the ability to ward of the likes of Michigan State without much drama.