Former Michigan State football players have been pushing for the hiring of Harlon Barnett as the next head coach of the Spartans.
The coaching search has not gone the way Michigan State would have hoped to this point. Getting turned away by Luke Fickell after Robert Saleh, Mel Tucker and Pat Narduzzi took their names out of the race was a gut-punch, but the search must go on as Bill Beekman is tasked with finding Mark Dantonio’s replacement.
And it can’t just be any replacement or the program will be set back about 15 years to the John L. Smith era. It must be the right candidate.
Many are worried that the athletic department will promote within and that would likely mean Mike Tressel would get promoted from defensive coordinator on an interim basis for at least the 2020 season but there’s some rumblings around the fan base and with former players about the possibility of bringing back a familiar face.
Who? Former Michigan State co-defensive coordinator, defensive backs coach and associate head coach (as well as former player) Harlon Barnett.
The former coordinator under Dantonio left following the 2017 season to become the defensive coordinator at Florida State under Willie Taggart and even though that flamed out in Tallahassee, most of that was due to the poor attitude and culture of the head coach who was fired during the middle of the 2019 campaign.
That means Barnett is open for hire and his former players from Darqueze Dennard to Joe Bachie to even Montez Sweat have vouched their support for him on social media.
Will Barnett get a call from Michigan State for an interview? There seems to be plenty of smoke and pressure from former players to make the move.