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Michigan State to hire Oregon State’s Jonathan Smith as next HC

The Spartans have their next head coach, poaching one of the PAC 12’s top options.

Syndication: Statesman Journal Abigail Dollins/Statesman Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Michigan State Spartans are hiring Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith, who was reportedly their top target, as their next head coach, 247Sports’s Matt Zenitz revealed on Saturday.

The Spartans, who finished their season with a 4-8 record after a 42-0 loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions on Friday night, had fired head coach Mel Tucker for cause in October.

They also dismissed interim head coach Harlon Bennett and the current football staff of their duties following Friday’s game, preparing for the move to hire Smith.

Smith took over as Oregon State’s head coach in 2018 following a dismal 1-11 season, and rebuilt the program in three years, earning a 7-6 record in 2021 before winning 18 games over the past two seasons.

“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,” Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said of the hire. “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.”

“On the field, his teams are tough and physical, yet innovative. 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.”