Mel Tucker Hired as Michigan State Head Coach After Mike Dantonio's Exit

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IFebruary 12, 2020

BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 7:  Head coach Mel Tucker of the Colorado Buffaloes works during a timeout during a game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Folsom Field on September 7, 2019 in Boulder, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Michigan State Spartans have agreed to hire Mel Tucker as their 17th head coach in program history.

On Wednesday, Michigan State made the hiring official.

Colorado also confirmed Tucker's exit from the program in a release stating he resigned, effective immediately:

"We are disappointed to see Coach Tucker leave," Colorado athletic director Rick George said. "We are excited about the upward trajectory of our football program and we'll get to work immediately hiring the next head coach to build on our momentum and lead our young men. We're confident this program is on the verge of competing at the highest level and has the resources and support in place to do so for a long time."

The Athletic's Bruce Feldman first reported the hiring on Tuesday.

The Spartans began their coaching search after Mark Dantonio announced he was stepping down as head coach on Feb. 4 in a lengthy letter, saying it was "one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made here at Michigan State":

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Dantonio served as Michigan State's head coach from 2007 to 2019 and went 114-57 overall. The Spartans won six bowls during that span, including the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl in 2014 and '15, respectively. However, MSU went 7-6 in back-to-back seasons after going 10-3 in the 2017 campaign.

Tucker joins the Spartans after one season with the University of Colorado, where he went 5-7 with victories over No. 25 Nebraska, No. 24 Arizona State, Stanford and Washington.

The former Wisconsin defensive back started his coaching career as a grad assistant at Michigan State under Nick Saban in 1997 before moving on to stints with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, University of Alabama and University of Georgia. The Cleveland native went 2-3 as the Jaguars' interim head coach in 2011.

Michigan State tried to pry him away from Colorado earlier in its coaching search, but Tucker wouldn't budge, tweeting that he had "#UnfinishedBusiness" in Boulder.

According to Feldman, MSU came back with an offer that doubled the coaching salary pool, as well as agreed to invest more in strength and conditioning and doubled the 48-year-old's salary at CU, which was around $2.7 million per year.