Spartans hire Colorado’s Tucker
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State hired Colorado’s Mel Tucker as its new football coach Wednesday, rallying to land a veteran leader with ties to the school who decided to leave the Buffaloes after a single season.
The Spartans lured Tucker away from Colorado with a lucrative contract offer after appearing to be interested in coaches such as Luke Fickell, Robert Saleh and Pat Shurmur. Tucker will replace Mark Dantonio, who retired two weeks ago after 13 mostly successful seasons.
“Mel brings a championship pedigree, NFL experience, connections to our region, success on the recruiting trail and head coaching experience to our program,” athletic director Bill Beekman said.
Michigan State scheduled a board meeting for later Wednesday to formally approve the hire and a news conference with Tucker was scheduled for early evening.
Colorado hired Tucker in December 2018, and gave him an opportunity to run the Pac-12 program after he was Georgia defensive coordinator. He was given a five-year, $14.75 million contract to lead the Buffaloes and they were 5-7 last season to match the program’s record from each of the previous two years.
“We are disappointed to see coach Tucker leave,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said.
The 48-year-old Tucker was a graduate assistant at Michigan State under Nick Saban in the late 1990s. His departure caught many by surprise, especially after he and George issued statements Saturday that seemed intended to quell speculation about him going to Michigan State.