Published: Thu, February 13, 2020
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Mel Tucker hired as new Michigan State head coach

Mel Tucker hired as new Michigan State head coach

The addition of Tucker ends the Spartans' high-profile search to replace longtime coach Mark Dantonio, who abruptly resigned February 4.

Michigan State's new head coach is wasting no time assembling a staff and not just because it's the middle of February.

The person spoke Wednesday morning to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the hiring had not been announced.

Fast forward to a few days later as the coaching search dragged on and Michigan State's honchos reportedly sweetened the pot dramatically not only for Tucker's salary but for his assistant coaches and for the strength and conditioning program. Tucker worked as defensive coordinator of the Bulldogs for three seasons. He was given a five-year, $14.75 million contract to lead the Buffaloes and they were 5-7 last season. His departure caught many by surprise, especially after he and George issued statements Saturday that seemed meant to quell speculation about him going to Michigan State.

After two years as the defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears (2013-2014), Tucker returned to college football as the defensive backs coach at Alabama in 2015.

Tucker is a Cleveland native who was a defensive back at Wisconsin from 1990-94 playing for Barry Alvarez.

"Returning home to Michigan State is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and my family, but it created the toughest decision of my life - to leave Colorado", Tucker said. His first coaching job was as a graduate assistant on Nick Saban's staff at Michigan State in 1997-98. Tucker spent a year at Miami (Ohio) and then one season as Saban's defensive backs coach at LSU. Tucker spent five games as the interim head coach of the Jaguars after Jack Del Rio was sacked in 2012.

Tucker also was an assistant at Ohio State as a defensive backs coach when it won a national title under Jim Tressel, whose nephew, Mike Tressel, was Michigan State's interim coach briefly this month. That was followed by being hired by Colorado on December 5, 2018.

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