First reported by The Athletic's Bruce Feldman, Michigan State University has found its next football coach in Mel Tucker, current head coach at the University of Colorado . Tucker, 48, will replace Mark Dantonio, who coached the MSU football program for 13 seasons. Dantonio announced his retirement last week. No contract terms have become immediately available. The news comes after front-runner Luke Fickell, who is the current head coach at the University of Cincinnati, turned down the MSU job on Monday morning.
Michigan State reportedly interviewed Tucker on Friday, but in a tweet on Saturday it seemed as though Tucker would stay put at Colorado. The tweet read "While I am flattered to be considered for the HC job @MSU_football, I am committed to @CUBuffsFootball for #TheBuild of our program, its great athletes, coaches & supporters. #UnfinishedBusiness #GoBuffs We are #Relentless #Culture #TheBuild"
Tucker has history with the Spartans, starting his coaching career as a graduate assistant at MSU in 1997-98 under Dantonio and former MSU head coach Nick Saban. Tucker was also part of the 2003 Ohio State University staff, alongside Dantonio and Fickell, serving as defensive backs coach under the leadership of Jim Tressel. He eventually became co-defensive coordinator in 2004. He then coached in the NFL, which included a four-year sting with the Jacksonville Jaguars as defensive coordinator and two years with the Chicago Bears. From 2015-2018 Tucker served as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.
Last season was Tucker's first as a collegiate head coach, leading Colorado to a 5-7 record.