Harlon Barnett left no doubt about his desire to remain in East Lansing. He also believes he should be strongly considered for the full-time head coaching job after serving as the interim this season.

After the in-season suspension and eventual firing of Mel Tucker, Barnett was promoted to the role of interim head coach. The Spartans have gone 2-7 under Barnett in a particularly challenging season.

At his Monday press conference, Barnett said he absolutely wants the full-time gig. He also believes there is no one better for the job in East Lansing as a former Spartan.


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“As far as the job itself and wanting the job — and I do want this job as the head football coach. There is nobody that they can go find that loves this place more than I do,” said Barnett. “And I don’t think will do a better job, because there’s something about loving a place and caring for a place than just going to some place for a job if that makes sense.”

Barnett said part of his candidacy is related to understanding the place and wanting to go “above and beyond” to get things right with the Spartans. Barnett is a former Spartan player who also spent 2007-17 on Mark Dantonio’s staff before returning to the program in 2020.

“There is extra that will be done above and beyond. Understanding the place — I understand what Michigan State is all about and the alumni and the fans… That’s my deal,” Barnett explained. “I am a Spartan, I bleed green, and there’s nobody they can find to do a better job. Maybe equal to because I ain’t going to do that, but there’s nobody they can find better… That’s fair, right?”

He went on to confirm that he was informed “several weeks ago” that he would get a chance to interview for the job. However, Barnett also said he was never given a specific date and that’s “what I know right now.”