Raye helped quarterback the school to back-to-back National Championships in 1965 and 1966 and has stayed active in the game. He currently serves as the New York Jets running backs coach after spending the last two years as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders under Norv Turner. Raye has been an NFL offensive coordinator on six different teams including the Rams, Bucs, Patriots, Chiefs and Redskins and has had great success. He also coached five years at Michigan State (1971-75) under legendary head coach Duffy Daugherty and successor Denny Stolz.
Raye returned to Spartan Stadium this season as part of the 40th anniversary team which played in the "Greatest College Football Game of All Time" the 10-10 tie against Notre Dame.
Smith and Jones wrote a letter - signed by eighteen former Spartans players including longtime great Gene Washington and George Webster - to President Lou Anna K. Simon requesting that Raye be interviewed and seriously considered for the job. Raye says he's happy where he is, but if MSU came calling.....
"We've got something pretty special going on here in New York right now. The only way I'd give the (Michigan State job) any thought is if someone from there contacts me about it," Raye told the Fayetteville, AR., Observer.
"For some reason, there are people at Michigan State that don't want Jimmy back there. But if we get enough people to voice their support for him, that can change," Smith is quoted as saying.
Many of MSU's former great players have been estranged from the University and have in the past said their input hasn't been wanted. However, MSU administration has said that is changing and they were encouraged and happy to receive Jones and Webster's input in the process.
Raye and his wife Edwena have two children, daughter Robin and son Jimmy III, who currently serves as the San Diego Chargers director of college scouting.