Mel Tucker fired: Who's next to coach Michigan State football?

Editor's note: Michigan State officially fired Mel Tucker for cause on Monday. This list ran earlier this month after the university informed Tucker it intended to do so.

Mel Tucker's time at Michigan State featured notable wins, a historic contract and a disgraceful exit. His brief but notable tenure with the Spartans is over.

On Monday, Michigan State informed Tucker of its intent to fire him for cause. Eight days ago the school suspended him without pay after details of a sexual harassment claim filed against him by Brenda Tracy went public. He finishes with a 20-14 record in three-plus seasons at MSU.

Michigan State must prioritize character above any other quality in its search, given what has happened at the school in the past decade and with Tucker at the end.

"He's got to be a good football coach, but off the field, he's got to be as clean as possible," an industry source said. "The background check has to come back completely spotless. Nothing at all."

The school also will be looking primarily at candidates with previous head-coaching experience, especially given the jarring nature of Tucker's departure.

The job has become tougher with in-state rival Michigan finally back atop the Big Ten and the league set to expand in 2024 by adding USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington, which just walloped Michigan State 41-7 at Spartan Stadium. Tucker made his mark in recruiting and with the transfer portal, but MSU achieved its best recent success through the player development approach perfected by his predecessor Mark Dantonio.

Here's a look at who MSU could look to replace Tucker with in 2024, starting with the favorites.