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Michigan State hires Jonathan Smith as new head coach from Oregon State

The split between the Power Five and those left behind has never been more stark, and Smith leaving Corvallis for East Lansing show it’s only growing.

Oregon State Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith looks up at the video board during the second half against the Washington Huskies at Reser Stadium. Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State announced on Saturday that they hired Jonathan Smith to fill their head coaching vacancy. Smith has been the head coach at Oregon State since 2018. Both the Beavers and the Spartans lost their final games of the 2023 regular season on Friday.

MSU fired head coach Mel Tucker partway through the 2023 season after he was the subject of sexual harassment allegations. The Spartans finished the year 4-8 overall and 2-7 in conference play.

Oregon State wrapped up an 8-4 season this week with lots of questions about the future of their program. They are one of two current Pac-12 schools that did not decide to join a different Power 5 conference this season, and they do not currently have a conference lined up — outside of Washington State, who find themselves in the same situation — for the 2024 season.

Smith had a 34-35 record as head coach at Oregon State. He previously served as the offensive coordinator at Washington.

With the Big Ten expanding, Michigan State is in need of some big changes to a struggling program in order to remain relevant and competitive. The Spartans are 14-20 in the Big Ten and 22-22 overall over the last four seasons, and have put together just one winning season in that stretch.