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Fickell not going to Michigan State, the search continues for football coach

There was speculation that Cincinnati head football coach Luck Fickell would replace Mark Dantonio.
Credit: Douglas DeFelice / USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell looks on during the second half against the Central Florida Knights at Spectrum Stadium.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Luke Fickell is staying in Cincinnati. 

There was speculation the head football coach of the Bearcats would replace Mark Dantonio at Michigan State University. Dantonio announced his retirement last week. 

This is the first time in over a decade that Spartans need a new football coach -- Dantonio has been with the team for 13 years, starting in the 2007 season. 

The empty position puts new athletic director Bill Beekman on the spot. A hire for head coach could define his tenure. 

RELATED: Beekman put to the test as Michigan State seeks new coach

According to the Detroit Free Press, Beekman was in Cincinnati over the weekend in attempts to court Fickell but he returned to East Lansing without the coach. The Freep says Fickell has been a front runner to replace Dantonio. 

 On Monday, Feb. 10, Fickell tweeted a video of himself in the his team in the lockers room, celebrating a win, with the caption "Looking forward to more of this in 2020!"

The 46-year-old is 32-20 overall in four seasons as head coach. He's spent the last three with the Bearcats. 

Fickell isn't the only coach turning down the Spartans. Colorado coach Mel Tucker, who was a graduate assistant for the Spartans under Nick Saban in the late 1990s, said last week he was still committed to the Buffaloes.  Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi, who used to be a defensive coordinator for Dantonio at Michigan State, also downplayed the possibility of going back to East Lansing. 

Dantonio plans on staying with MSU's athletic department in a special projects role. Mike Tressel will serve as acting head coach until a replacement is found.

The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.


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