Colorado's Mel Tucker hired as new Michigan State coach

Eric Bieniemy

Reports: Mel Tucker is leaving as head coach of the CU Buffs, taking the same job with Michigan St.

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

When Mark Dantonio surprisingly resigned as Michigan State's coach earlier this month, two of the top names targeted to replace him were Luke Fickell and Mel Tucker.

The person spoke Wednesday morning to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the hiring had not been announced. Why take a bad job with a bad team with a bad quarterback and get fired after 2-3 years when Bieniemy can continue to run the most potent offense in the league? Tucker on the other hand has been climbing the coaching ranks year by year.

Tucker has Michigan State ties as he was a graduate assistant from 1997-1998 under current Alabama coach Nick Saban. ". 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".

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Tucker was one of several candidates to seemingly turn down Michigan State's initial overtures, and he tweeted Saturday that he remained committed to Colorado after speaking with MSU about its vacancy.

Tucker went 5-7 in his first year at Colorado.

The New York Giants had a bit of a scare this week with word that outside linebackers coach/senior assistant, Bret Bielema, was "very interested" in the Michigan State head coaching job - an interest that was apparently mutual. That appears to be when the Spartans re-visited the possibility of hiring Tucker, an OH native and former Big Ten defensive back at Wisconsin. He spent only one season with the Crimson Tide, helping them win a national title. Tucker took over as the interim coach of the Jaguars in 2011, when coach Jack Del Rio was sacked, and garnered a 2-3 record.

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. He served as Buckeyes interim head coach in 2011 following the dismissal of Jim Tressel. That was followed by being hired by Colorado on December 5, 2018.

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