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Published: Wednesday, 11/1/2006

Michigan State coach John L. Smith will not be back next season


EAST LANSING, Mich. John L. Smith will not return next year as Michigan State s football coach but will complete the rest of this season, with the Spartans struggling again in the Big Ten.

Smith is in the fourth year of a six-year contract that pays him about $1.5 million annually.

The performance on the field has not lived up to what we hoped it would be, athletic director Ron Mason said during a new conference today. It comes time to make a change, and that s where we re at.

Just two weeks ago, the Spartans pulled off the greatest comeback in Division I-A history by rallying from 35 points down to beat Northwestern 41-38. But typical of Michigan State s inconsistency under Smith, the Spartans (4-5) lost 46-21 at Indiana last Saturday to fall to 1-4 in the Big Ten. They play Purdue Saturday.

Smith has been under pressure at Michigan State. School officials gave him a vote of confidence after last season s losing campaign, but were looking for better results in 2006.

Mason and university president Lou Anna Simon said they reached the decision to make a change on Tuesday. Mason met with Smith today, and the coach agreed to stay on the rest of the season.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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