Michigan State football announces Jonathan Smith as 26th head football coach in program history

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Michigan State Athletics

EAST LANSING – Michigan State University has announced former Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith as the Spartans’ 26th head football coach.

“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,” MSU athletic director Alan Haller said. “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.”

Jonathan Smith leaves his alma mater, where he played quarterback from 1998-2001, and had been the head coach since 2018. Smith led the Beavers to an overall record of 34-35 in his six seasons, including three bowl eligible seasons, tallying one bowl win. Smith now comes to East Lansing looking to build back a program that has lost its identity in the past two seasons. 

“Beyond the football field, the Smith family will be an excellent addition to the entire Michigan State University community,” Haller said. “Jonathan and Candice are excited to be invested community members and realize that Spartan football is just one part of the University’s larger mission.”

Smith released a statement Saturday afternoon expressing his gratitude for Oregon State in his time there.

“When I first arrived as a freshman college student, I had no idea the opportunities and relationships this community would provide for me and my family,” Smith said. “The collective impact you have made makes it impossible for me to thank everyone individually, but I am forever grateful.”

Coach Smith is expected to be formally introduced as head coach early this week following a vote from the MSU Board of Trustees at a later date.

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