Update >> Michigan State has formally announced Mel Tucker as the new leader of the program.
To all Spartans, please welcome Coach Mel Tucker to Michigan State! pic.twitter.com/irYiYfOntE
— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) February 12, 2020
In the early hours of this morning, reports started to circulate that the wild search for Michigan State’s next head coach is expected to conclude with the hire of Colorado’s Mel Tucker as the new head coach in East Lansing.
The Spartans coaching search originally had Tucker as one of their primary candidates early on in the process last week, but Tucker tweeted back on February 8th: “While I am flattered to be considered for the HC job @MSU_football, I am committed to @CUBuffsFootball for #TheBuild of our program, it’s great athletes, coaches & supporters.”
He shared a lot of those same sentiments during a radio appearance during the day Tuesday. But the MSU and Tucker reportedly came to an agreement in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
In the decision to circle back around to Tucker, Michigan State made an offer that Tucker simply couldn’t walk away from. According to various reports, that offer included more than doubling his current salary ($2.7 million), doubling the salary pool for MSU assistant coaches, and substantial increases to the strength and conditioning staff.
In Tucker, Michigan State is getting a defensive-minded head coach regarded as an elite recruiter and someone with significant NFL and championship level college football experience.
During his one season leading the Colorado program, Tucker went 5-7, including wins over ranked Nebraska and Arizona State teams at the time. Among those five wins were triumphs over Stanford and Washington late in the year, and close losses to Air Force, Arizona, and USC that were all one-score games.
Before taking over Colorado, Tucker was the defensive coordinator / defensive backs coach at Georgia under Kirby Smart and just prior to that, he was the assistant head coach and defensive backs coach for Nick Saban at Alabama. He’s also held defensive coordinator positions in the NFL with the Browns (2008), Jaguars (2009-12), and Bears (2013-14).
Tucker does have history at Michigan State, serving as a graduate assistant for the Spartans back in 1997-98 under Nick Saban to get his coaching career started. As the defensive backs coach at Ohio State from 2001-03 before adding the co-defensive coordinator title in 2004, Tucker helped bring a national title to Columbus under Jim Tressel in ’02.
While Michigan State filling closes the loop on one end, Colorado opening will mark the 24th head coaching opening of the 2019-20 head coaching carousel.
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
— Hondo Carpenter (@HondoCarpenter) February 12, 2020
BREAKING: #CU coach Mel Tucker has agreed in principle to become the new head coach at #MichiganState, per sources. After Tucker turned down initial interest, MSU power brokers came back repeatedly to Tucker’s reps w/ an offer that was impossible to ignore https://t.co/qjOH0qKirQ
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 12, 2020
While I am flattered to be considered for the HC job @MSU_football, I am committed to @CUBuffsFootball for #TheBuild of our program, its great athletes, coaches & supporters. #UnfinishedBusiness #GoBuffs
— Mel Tucker (@Coach_mtucker) February 8, 2020