Mariucci declined to interview for the job on the basis of family considerations and reports that he will be strong candidate for a number of NFL jobs.
GSN has learned that MSU's staff visited with LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini earlier this week. Pelini, who served as interim coach when Nebraska whipped Michigan State in its last bowl appearance - the 2003 Alamo Bowl - has let it be known through intermediaries that he has strong interest in the Michigan State job.
When contacted, Pelini simply stated "That'll all take care of itself. What I'm doing is staying focused on the task at hand and the job I have right now. God willing, if I just keep doing my job, maybe that'll happen for me some day — I don't know."
"We'll see what happens. Like I said, I'm enjoying the moment and what I've got going here with my present job."
Strong, an African-American, is one of the up-and-coming coaches that the Black Coaches Association is promoting for interviews in head coach vacancies. University of Michigan first-year defensive coordinator Ron English is another.
A contingent from MSU search committe will be at Kelly/Shorts stadium tonight for the Central Michigan vs. Western Michigan game that could determine the MAC West title. MSU is looking at CMU's Brian Kelly, who after piloting Division II Grand Valley to the National Championship, has quickly turned around CMU's floundering program which hadn't had a winning season since 1997 before his arrival.
Kelly interviewed for the process earlier this week and MSU presence at tonight's ball game signals strong interest on the part of the administration.
Another name previously mentioned is for MSU center and current Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur, a George Perles disciple, but some are MSU's committee might be scared off by Shurmur's lack of at least coordinator experience.
MSU would like to settle on finalists early next week so that they could have a new head coach in place no later than the week after the Penn State finale to facilitate recruiting.