'Are you serious?' Paul Finebaum mocks idea of Michigan State hiring Bret Bielema
So far, the Michigan State coaching search has been somewhat of a disaster. Every name associated with replacing Mark Dantonio has separated himself from the opportunity, forcing the athletic department to dig a little deeper into its hat than it would’ve liked.
On Monday, Luke Fickell, who was Michigan State’s top candidate, decided to turn down the Spartans and stay at Cincinnati for at least another season. That forced athletic director Bill Beekman to add more names to the mix.
Former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema worked his way into the conversation and, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press, Bielema would have interest in the job.
Bielema has spent the last two seasons in the NFL and has already accepted a position as the outside linebackers coach with the New York Giants. But he might be willing to move back to the Midwest for a shot to lead a new program, which would be his first opportunity since being fired at Arkansas after the 2017 season.
SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum believes Bielema would be a bad hire for Michigan State.
“It’s hard to imagine it being any more embarrassing,” Finebaum said of the Michigan State coaching search. “And the newest name to surface is Bret Bielema — remember the guy that used to be at Wisconsin? And Arkansas?
“I think he was a disaster at Arkansas. he was stubbord. He made countless mistakes. And putting him in that situation I think excites absolutely nobody.”
Bielema did struggle mightily at Arkansas, finishing with a 29-34 record in five years with the program. While he did lead the Razorbacks to bowl games in three seasons, he posted just one winning mark in SEC play during his half-decade at the school.
At Wisconsin, Bielema’s run was much more successful. In seven years, he compiled a 68-24 record, won three-straight B1G titles from 2010-12 and the Badgers finished the year ranked in the Associated Press poll five times. Wisconsin appeared in a bowl game every season.
Still, Finebaum thinks Bielema is a bad choice.
“Why is Bret Bielema a good name?” Finebaum said. “Has there been a legitimate Power Five school that has tried to hire him since he got fired at Arkansas?
“I think this is a job for a young, energetic person to start recruiting Ohio and start building up. I mean, there are plenty of names out there better than Bret Bielema. I mean, are you serious?”
Michigan State is running out of options. Along with Fickell, Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell and Colorado’s Mel Tucker have all turned down interest in the vacancy in East Lansing.
If MSU is looking for an outside change, Bielema might be the program’s best hope at this point.