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The search for a football coach at Michigan State continues.

Luke Fickell, current head coach at Cincinnati who interviewed for the opening, has decided to remain with the Bearcats.

Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman was in Cincinnati on Sunday to meet with Fickell and returned to Lansing Sunday afternoon with many believing the Spartans were closing in on landing Fickell as the replacement for Mark Dantonio, who stepped down after 13 seasons coaching Michigan State.

And while there was no official offer made by Michigan State, on Monday morning Fickell, 46, had decided to stay at Cincinnati.

"I had to make a selfish decision," Fickell said in an interview posted by the Cincinnati athletic department, referring to considering the Michigan State job. "But this selfish decision was what was right for my family –– and that is to be here, to be with you guys, and continue to do what it is we've done."

A meeting of members of the Michigan State Board of Trustees scheduled for Monday night will still take place, but now the No. 1 question will likely be where Michigan State turns. Pittsburgh coach and former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi took his name out of the running last week, as did Colorado coach Mel Tucker. San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh also reportedly turned down an interview request from Michigan State.

Interim head coach and defensive coordinator Mike Tressel could now get a formal interview while Beekman and his team likely will start reaching out to more candidates, including Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton, Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain, Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry, current Alabama analyst Butch Jones and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

Fickell has compiled a 26-13 record in three seasons leading the Bearcats after spending the previous 16 seasons at Ohio State. He was the Buckeyes’ interim head coach in 2011 after Jim Tressel stepped down and served on the same staff as Dantonio when Ohio State won the national championship in 2002. Fickell has three years left on his contract that pays him $2.3 million a year. His buyout at the moment would be $2.5 million.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau

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