Former Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton is making a pitch for Jim McElwain to be the next head coach in East Lansing.

It’s been a week since Mark Dantonio stepped down at Michigan State, and the athletic department’s search for the next head coach has gone according to plan. Several big names, including Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi, have already turned down interest in the job. It seems that Dantonio’s comment, “people will run here,” may have been a bit misguided.

While the department continues to try and find Dantonio’s replacement, former quarterback Drew Stanton has one name in mind — Jim McElwain. The former Michigan State assistant and current Central Michigan head coach would be a good hire for the program, according to the former Spartan.

Stanton explained why McElwain would be a good fit.

“I loved him,” Stanton told The Detroit News. “He was charismatic, a guy that bought into the players and someone people wanted to play for. I was somewhat heartbroken my senior year because him and (quarterbacks coach Doug) Nussmeier left at the same time and there was talk of Coach McElwain becoming the quarterbacks coach and I was all for it, but it didn’t work out.

“He was one of those guys that found a way to relate to everybody in the locker room and had that ability to do so in special teams. I had no intention of playing special teams my redshirt freshman year, but at the end of the year I was playing all four because I’d do anything for that guy.”

McElwain was in East Lansing for three seasons from 2003-05, serving as the assistant head coach, wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator under John L. Smith. Since then, McElwain has been the head coach at Colorado State, Florida and Central Michigan, and is a three-time conference coach of the year, winning one at each school.

In seven seasons as a head coach, McElwain has compiled a 52-33 record and led his teams to five bowl games.

McElwain has been a name that’s been in consideration for the job, but former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has also surfaced as a potential candidate for the vacancy. It’s been reported that there’s mutual interest there.

Michigan State must continue to work quickly to get something in place by the start of spring practice. If there are no takers, the job may be acting head coach Mike Tressel’s for the time being.