According to Adam Schefter, Mooch isn't going anywhere. He's already getting paid for the next two years by the Lions. He doesn't need the money. And apparently he is enjoying the cushy, stress-free job doing the post game shows after the games on the NFL network. It'll will probably take some serious dealing for MSU to lure Mooch out from behind the desk.
Sounds like MSU is waiting for Mariucci's decision:
Izzo hints: Mooch a good fit
November 7, 2006
Email this Print this BY SHANNON SHELTON
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER By Shannon Shelton
EAST LANSING -- During that late-October, early-November period when football and basketball seasons overlap, basketball coach Tom Izzo often holds his weekly news conference following football coach John L. Smith's.
Topics discussed during Monday's back-to-back addresses were symbolic of the state of MSU's football program. Smith reflected on his seniors and their final home game at MSU, and Izzo discussed his sport but also answered questions regarding the latest developments in the search for a new football coach.
Izzo had no update on any potential interest from Steve Mariucci, who returned from a trip out of the country Friday. Izzo said he talked to his friend briefly Saturday but hasn't heard back.
"I'm at his mercy of him calling me, so that's created a problem," Izzo joked. "I'm a little ticked off at him right now that he hasn't called me, so when I get him, I will tell you."
Apparently, Mariucci had some items stolen while away, including his cell phone, Izzo said. He added that comments from Mariucci's agent -- Sandy Montag, dismissing any interest in the MSU job -- weren't true because Montag hadn't spoken to Mariucci while he was out of town.
"Of course I'd like to have my friend here if it worked out for both parties," Izzo said. "His health and well-being is as important to me as Michigan State's because he's been my best friend my whole life, but Michigan State's health is very important to me too, because I think this football program ... we've all learned something that a lot of us knew, just how important it is.
"Do I think he can do the job? Yeah, I think he can do the job. I think there are some other guys out there that can do the job. I really do mean that. We've just gotta get the one that fits us best and the one that's excited about being here."
One thing he's also learned from the last hiring -- the new coach will need plenty of help from the rest of the school in his attempt to rebuild. That's something Izzo said he should have done more when Smith was hired in 2002.
"I think I let John L. down because I didn't know him as well," Izzo said. "I didn't jump in there with maybe the help that I could give him. I think a lot of us let him down, if you want the truth."
Gridiron to hardwood: Smith indirectly recommended that wide receiver Matt Trannon make one final attempt at playing basketball before graduating from MSU.
"I question how much he's going to get invited to, as far as the combine and things like that," Smith said. "If I were advising him, I would probably advise him, 'If you don't get taken in the combine, go ahead and play basketball,' because I think it nothing more than serves as a platform for him to sell himself.
"I think those scouts will take a look at that. They've always been impressed, in my opinion, by guys who are athletic enough to do that and contribute and play."
When asked why Trannon didn't have greater success this season, Smith said, "I think he's had success. I think he's going to graduate. What more success could you want?"
WILLINGHAM DECLINES: Washington coach Tyrone Willingham told reporters in his media conference Monday that no one at Michigan State has contacted him regarding the coaching vacancy. And he said he's not interested.
"I've already done it," Willingham said. "I wasn't a head coach, but I've already been back to my alma mater."
Another article out of Detroit today advising against either Mooch or Davis and suggesting a few dark horses:
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Mariucci or Davis would be wrong choice for Spartans Izzo doesn't rule out Mariucci for MSU
I have no idea what Michigan State is thinking as it prepares to hire a new football coach. It means this process is pretty much on track with all of the past coaching searches, and there have been eight since I began covering Michigan State in 1972.
Having spent too many hours of my life chronicling an otherwise vibrant Big Ten university, all that can be pointed to on a Monday following five days of ongoing phone conversations are one person's list of pluses and minuses.
The right leader
Pluses: Lou Anna K. Simon, president at Michigan State, knows more football than any previous president since John Hannah hired Biggie Munn to lead the football program 60 years ago. Her presence offers promise to Michigan State's camp when the president should be the undisputed leader.
The wrong candidates
Minuses: Unfortunately, this list is longer.
Another layer of negatives accumulated last week when it was learned Michigan State was considering Butch Davis and Steve Mariucci to replace John L. Smith. Either coach would be so patently opposite of what Michigan State should be considering that it leads you to believe yet another catastrophe is days from being announced.
Let's begin with Davis: He is 54 years old, last coached for the Cleveland Browns, where he did not succeed, and has college coaching experience only in the South (Oklahoma State, Miami), where he probably will return. He would be a lousy fit at a Big Ten university where knowledge of the culture and recruiting turf should be primary.
Moving to Mariucci, we have a 51-year-old deposed Lions coach who also was fired by the 49ers. He has not coached in college since 1996.
Mariucci was regarded as a soft coach by the 49ers and followed the script with the Lions. The worst thing about a so-called "player's coach" is that locker rooms can disintegrate, as happened last season when the Lions dressing room was utterly sulfurous.
Michigan State clearly is taking its time with this search.
It might explain why a few crackerjack candidates haven't been contacted, a list that includes ex-Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh, a dynamic football personality (he is coach at the University of San Diego, which is 9-0) whose recruiting skill and leadership might transform Michigan State football.
Eagles quarterback coach Pat Shurmur ought to at least receive an interview. Same for Georgia Tech's defensive coordinator, Jon Tenuta.
Todd Grantham, defensive coordinator for the Browns, also deserves an interview.
All of the above are people who potentially have what Michigan State needs. Talking with them is a no-risk venture with huge upside.
But, then, the enduring question: Will Michigan State show common sense and good judgment in naming a new coach?
The very fact that question has to be asked is what's unsettling about a school that, like men drivers who get lost, hates to ask for directions.
Article from the Chicago Sun Times...was emailed to me I will try to find the link:
MSU should pursue Mariucci
Steve Mariucci might be interested in replacing John L. Smith after all. That's what Mariucci's best friend, Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, told reporters Monday. If it's true -- or even if it's not -- school officials have only one logical option: Convince Mariucci to take the job.
If they are unwilling to do that, it proves they are more worried about tomorrow's headlines than the program's long-term success.
Finding the right coach is all about finding the right fit. Mariucci is tailor-made for the Michigan State job. He is the natural choice, a slam dunk. No one else comes close.
Mariucci is a Michigan native. He has been a successful college coach (albeit for one season). He has the natural charm that would make him an effective recruiter. He has an inherent enthusiasm that allows him to connect with college kids. School officials could trust him to run a clean program.
Talk about creating a family atmosphere. He and Izzo are more than best friends. They are more like brothers. By hiring Mariucci, Michigan State officials could marry their highly successful basketball program with a football program that seems to be perennially spinning its wheels.
Look at USC's Carroll
Mariucci's stint with the Detroit Lions ended in disaster. No arguing that. Criticism about him being too laid-back, too much of a delegator and not holding players accountable is fair. But those who hold up his unsuccessful tenure with the Lions as evidence that he couldn't be successful in the Big Ten should remember Pete Carroll. The former Jets and Patriots coach has won two national titles at USC after washing out of the NFL.
Maybe Mariucci isn't interested. Maybe he's content to supplement his Lions buyout with his gig on the NFL Network. Mariucci has a lot of regret about the time he has missed with his kids. Maybe he wants to take an extended break and make up for lost time. Maybe he'd rather stick to broadcasting, as his agent intimated. Maybe he worries about Michigan State athletic director Ron Mason being a short-timer and trustees wielding too much power.
Michigan State officials need to find that out. They need to recruit Mariucci as if he were a prospective star athlete because the other contenders -- University of Cincinnati coach Mark Dantonio, University of San Diego coach Jim Harbaugh, Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur -- while intriguing candidates, are not ideal candidates. Mariucci is the ideal candidate.
The perception that his success with the San Francisco 49ers was a product of the organization is unfair. Granted, he inherited quality players when he accepted the job. But he was a steadying influence during salary-cap problems, roster overhauls, an ownership change, front-office turmoil and the departures of icons Jerry Rice and Steve Young during what were the most tumultuous six years in team history.
Image-conscious Michigan State officials might be reluctant to hire Mariucci because they fear being hammered by local media members who were critical of him after his stint with the Lions. Wouldn't they rather be criticized now and praised later than vice versa?
There's no one better
Can those who want anybody but Mariucci name a better candidate? Butch Davis comes close, but the former Oklahoma State, University of Miami and Browns coach reportedly is bound for North Carolina. Besides, if you're going to hold Mariucci's failure with the Lions against him, how can you defend Davis' inability to improve the Browns? At least Mariucci had one successful run as an NFL head coach.
Those who say Mariucci hasn't coached college football since 1996 are grasping for straws. This isn't quantum physics, people. Mariucci's rah-rah attitude is ideal for a college campus. He has the charisma to wrest recruits away from Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame, which is what any successful Spartans coach must do. He could step in next season and immediately be a superior in-game coach than Lloyd Carr of archrival Michigan.
Mariucci and Izzo used to dream that one day Mariucci would coach Notre Dame football and Izzo would coach Michigan State basketball. This is even better. Mariucci has done the NFL thing. He isn't someone who would use Michigan State as a steppingstone, not with his best friend there. Mariucci is 51. This could be his last job. He could provide Michigan State with what it needs more than anything: stability.
Some decisions are so simple, they're automatic. Mariucci might not have been a good fit for the Lions, but that doesn't mean he's not a good fit for the Spartans now.