Smith is expected to receive a $3 million buyout in exchange for stepping down. The question now is who will be the next head coach of the University.
Conflicting reports have former Detroit Lions head coach Steve Mariucci at the top of the list and some sources say that Mariucci has already begun tenative talks with the school. That cannot be confirmed.
Mariucci is well known and liked in the East Lansing community and his very public longterm friendship with wildly successful MSU head basketball coach Tom Izzo makes him a popular choice among alumni as well.
Other reports have MSU putting out feelers to Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong. Strong, an African-American, will almost certainly be interviewed if he wants to be and will likely get a shot at wooing the search committee. He has a strong disciplinarian background and is a successful recruiter.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur, a former player and graduate of Michigan State under former head coach George Perles, has a faction of alumni who have rallied behind his candidacy. Shurmur though, has never risen above a position coach on any level and is unlikely to be a serious candidate.
Several citings of former East Carolina head coach Steve Logan have surfaced in recent weeks in East Lansing. Logan's name was thought to be in connection with an assistant coaches job as he has an unimpressive resume, going 4-8 in his final season in Greenville.
Two wild card names have also surfaced in connection with the position, former Cleveland Browns and Miami Hurricanes head coach Butch Davis, who is currently working with the NFL network has arisen. But MSU's brass is likely to be concerned that Davis, who ran afoul of the NCAA in Coral Gables, could take MSU down a road it no longer wants to go.
The other, ironically, is Idaho head coach Dennis Erickson, who runs the same offensive scheme and served as Smith's mentor during his early coaching years. Erickson, who has had success at early collegiate stop from Miami to Oregon State, is not likely to stay on the Palouse for long. His name would likely receive strong consideration.
A rising name being mentioned in connection with Michigan State is Jon Tenuta, the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech. Tenuta was the defensive coordinator at Ohio State and SMU and has a strong recruiting background in the fertile recruiting backgrounds of Ohio and Pennsylvania.