Michigan State: John L. Smith will Finish Season; Won't Return in '07


East Lansing, MI - A major announcement from the Michigan State Univeristy Wednesday.

Football coach John L. Smith will not return next year, but will be with the team the remainder of this season.

School President Lou Anna Simon and other officials announced the decision at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"The performance on the field has not lived up to what we hoped it would be," athletic director Ron Mason said. "It comes time to make a change, and that's where we're at."

The Spartans are coming off a 46-21 loss at Indiana and are 4-5 this season and 1-4 in the Big Ten.

Smith has been under pressure from school officials, who gave him a vote of confidence after last season's losing campaign, but who also said improvements were expected this year.

Smith is in the fourth year of a six-year contract that pays him about $1.5 million annually.

A message seeking comment was left with Smith.

"This is a man who cares deeply about his players. He is a consummate professional," Simon said.