Jonathan Smith listed as one of favorites to replace Mel Tucker at Michigan State
Jonathan Smith will presumably have his pick of the litter this offseason.
The Oregon State head coach faces an uncertain future in Corvallis not because of anything he has done as a coach, but because of the conference crumbling around him and his school. The Beavers and Washington State Cougars will be left to fend for themselves after this season, and trust that coach-needy programs around the country will use that uncertainty as a way to try and pry Smith away from the school.
According to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Michigan State is a school to keep an eye on in that regard.
On Monday, the Spartans informed coach Mel Tucker they plan to fire him for cause in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal. So, who comes in to clean up Tucker’s mess? Rittenberg named six favorites.
Smith is among them.
Here’s what he wrote:
Smith’s loyalty to his alma mater will be tested this winter, as he will be on the wish list of just about any power conference school that has a vacancy. His schematic proficiency and steady leadership could be exactly what MSU needs after a turbulent time. Smith, 44, guided Oregon State to a No. 17 finish last season and has the Beavers involved in a very competitive Pac-12 race. He loves Oregon State and has spent his entire career in the Pacific Northwest. But Oregon State faces an uncertain future after conference realignment, and Smith’s geographic ties actually make more sense with the reshaped Big Ten in 2024.
Smith currently has the Beavers sitting 14th in the AP poll — their highest ranking since 2012.
Oregon State is 3-0 to start consecutive seasons for the first time since 1999-2000.
When Smith got to Corvallis in 2018, he was taking over a doormat program. After Mike Riley, Oregon State had gone 2-10, 4-8, and 1-11, with just three conference wins in 27 games.
He went 2-10 his first year, but has since piloted the Beavers to a 27-21 mark that includes back-to-back bowl games.