Michigan State AD Alan Haller: Search to replace Mel Tucker in 'early stages'

Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller posted a public letter directly addressing MSU fans on what to expect throughout the coaching search without giving a deadline of a final decision.

Haller began the letter by saying the university was in the “early stages” of the coaching search and thanked players and fans for continuing to support the football team the last three weeks since ex-head coach Mel Tucker was initially suspended then fired amid sexual harassment allegations.

“To our community, I can’t thank you enough for the support you’ve demonstrated for our football team and our athletic department,” Haller said in the letter. “You’ve shown up to Spartan Stadium in big numbers to back our student-athletes, and that support has been noted.

Michigan State's athletic director Alan Haller on the sideline during the football game against on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.
Michigan State's athletic director Alan Haller on the sideline during the football game against on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

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"To the members of the football team, thank you for providing a lesson in resiliency. In the face of adversity, and with outside distractions circling around, you’ve leaned on each other and your coaches to continue working to get better as a team every day.”

The last time MSU was looking for a head coach, it hired Tucker in just weeks with much different circumstances after Mark Dantonio retired in Feb. 2020. Michigan State was able to move quickly in the offseason and hire Tucker in an effort to keep the recruiting class together.

Since Tucker was fired last week, MSU will likely have to wait toward the end of the college football season to hire their candidate. Haller said the coaching search will be conducted privately despite recognizing MSU fans’ hunger for information. He said privacy was necessary to interest big names and protect coaches currently in-season with other teams.

“Regarding the search, we will thoroughly evaluate and do everything required to find the right individual to lead the Spartan football program,” Haller said. “Throughout the process, I won’t be able to provide many updates. I realize that our community has a tremendous passion for Spartan football and that there’s a great desire for more information about this process. However, privacy is important to attract top-caliber candidates, most of whom are involved in their own current seasons. I expect that you will hear a lot of names and rumors. I expect to speak with many individuals throughout this process. While some are candidates, others will be resources for me as I go about my due diligence to ensure the best hire for Michigan State.”

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Harlon Barnett will continue to serve as the interim coach in the meantime and it is unknown if he will be a candidate for the job permanently. The Spartans (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) are 0-3 under Barnett with losses to Washington, Maryland and Iowa since Tucker was relieved of his duties.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State AD Alan Haller: Football coach search in 'early stages'