The ups and downs over the last two weeks for the Michigan State Spartans football program have been enough to cause motion sickness, and fans are feeling the results.
Over his first decade in the position, Mark Dantonio built the program and took it to new heights. But in his final few years, he played no small role in tearing in partially back down.
Despite the struggles of late, however, fans still appeared to have felt better under Dantonio’s leadership than after his retirement. Nearly two thirds of fans voting in SB Nation’s FanPulse said they felt worse about the program after the retirement than they had previously.
Part of that lack of faith may have been a result of how the coaching search began.
Immediately after Dantonio announced his retirement, a list was created among fans as to who would take over. Unfortunately, the athletic department didn’t appear to have a similar list. Making things worse, it wasn’t long until some of those names crossed themselves off the list by announcing they weren’t interested in the job.
But none of that felt all that important, because it was clear the university was all-in on Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell. The rational was clear, like Dantonio he had a Big Ten pedigree and built a successful program with Cincinnati. The fanbase was similarly bought in with Fickell, 50 percent of fans said they wanted Fickell to take the job. The next closest options were “other” at 21 percent and former defensive coordinator and current Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi at 17 percent.
Confidence in the program took another hit, however, when Fickell announced he was staying in his current position.
Since results have come back, the Spartans have hired former Colorado Buffalos head coach Mel Tucker. The hire hasn’t come without more than a fair share of criticism, but how the Spartans fanbase will react is still an unknown.