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Report: Cincinnati's Fickell turns down Michigan State job

Julio Aguilar / Getty Images

Cincinnati football coach Luke Fickell has turned down the job opening at Michigan State, Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reports.

Considered the leading candidate for the position after Mark Dantonio abruptly stepped down last Tuesday, Fickell interviewed with the Spartans on Sunday but has elected to stay put, according to Thamel.

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh reportedly also turned down an interview request from Michigan State.

Dantonio had been the Spartans' head man since 2007. School athletic director Bill Beekman insisted the coach's job wasn't in jeopardy despite a 4-4 start to the 2019 season and as recently as late November, Dantonio said he intended to return to the sidelines for the 2020 season.

Now past both the hiring and recruiting cycles, the school is having trouble finding Dantonio's replacement.

However, former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is very interested in the job, according to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. Bielema was recently hired by the New York Giants as their outside linebackers coach.

The Spartans are coming off consecutive 7-6 finishes.

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