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Nov. 28, 2023

Jonathan Smith named head football coach

Jonathan Smith, who has led Oregon State to new heights during his tenure over the past six seasons, has been named Michigan State University’s 26th head football coach.

Jonathan Smith with family (from left to right) Robert, Charles, Candice and Bella.
Jonathan Smith, MSU's 26th head football coach, with his family (from left to right: Robert, Charles, Candice and Bella) at his introductory press conference. Photo Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications

Named the 2022 Pac-12 Co-Coach of the Year, Smith built Oregon State into one of the top teams in the conference. He led the Beavers, who were ranked as high as 11th in the College Football Playoff rankings this season, to an 8-4 record in the regular season and their third straight bowl appearance, a first for the program since 2006-09. OSU has gone 25-13 the past three seasons under Smith, including a No. 17 ranking in 2022 and a win over Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl. He also has experience coaching in the College Football Playoff as an offensive coordinator at Washington in 2016.

The hire requires formal approval from the MSU Board of Trustees at a future meeting.

“Today is an exciting day for Michigan State as we welcome Jonathan Smith, wife Candice, and children Robert, Bella and Charles to our Spartan family,” said MSU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Alan Haller. “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.”

“My family and I are excited to join the Michigan State football family," said Smith. “I’m thankful to Alan Haller and the university leadership for entrusting me to lead a Spartan football program which possesses both an excellent tradition and all the resources needed to compete at the highest level in college football today. There are no shortcuts, and we will be a program that’s willing to do the work required to experience sustained success.”

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