Michigan State hires Mel Tucker to replace Mark Dantonio

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 9:16am

Michigan State hired Mel Tucker as its football coach early Wednesday morning.

Michigan State hired Mel Tucker as its football coach early Wednesday morning. Buy this photo
Katelyn Mulcahy/Daily

According to multiple reports, Michigan State has chosen Colorado’s Mel Tucker as its next head coach.

Tucker had originally turned down the Spartans, tweeting on Feb. 8 that he was committed to the Buffaloes. But when Luke Fickell turned the job down, Michigan State came calling again.

His salary pool with the Spartans will be double what he had at Colorado, according to a report from The Athletic. The Michigan State Board of Regents will vote to officially approve Tucker this afternoon.

Tucker worked with Dantonio as a graduate assistant for the Spartans from 1997-98, then served as defensive backs coach at Ohio State when Dantonio was the defensive coordinator from 2001-03.

After a stint in the NFL, he served as the defensive backs coach at Alabama in 2015 and Georgia’s defensive coordinator from 2016-18 before becoming the head coach of the Buffaloes.

Under Tucker, Colorado finished 2019 with a record of 5-7 and fifth place in the Pac-12 South.

Tucker’s recruiting class at Colorado this year was ranked No. 35 in the country, higher than the Spartans’, and during his years at Georgia, Tucker was thrice ranked in the top 20 in 247Sports’ recruiter rankings. Tucker will hope to bring that success to East Lansing as well — something that’s necessary being in the same divison as Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.

In his retirement press conference on Feb. 4, Dantonio was asked what criteria he’d want in a new head coach.

In my opinion, the person should be someone who can recruit this area of the country because that’s where the majority of your recruits are gonna come from,” he said. “Somebody who has a track record of treating people correctly, they should know a little bit about our program or been in this conference somewhat. It should be somebody that, they’ve been a good coach and a solid person.”

In Tucker, Michigan State found someone who fit their criteria.