Thursday, February 20, 2020

Mel Tucker hire unanimously approved by MSU Board of Trustees

February 12, 2020
New head football coach Mel Tucker speaks at his introductory press conference at the Breslin Student Events Center on February 12, 2020.
New head football coach Mel Tucker speaks at his introductory press conference at the Breslin Student Events Center on February 12, 2020. —
Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

The successor is here — Michigan State's Board of Trustees unanimously approved former Colorado Head Coach Mel Tucker as Michigan State's next head football coach during a special meeting Wednesday.

Tucker, who went 5-7 as Colorado’s head coach and brought in the nation’s 35th-ranked 2020 recruiting class, returns to East Lansing after beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant from 1997-98 under Nick Saban.

He is the second African American to take the helm at Spartan Stadium since Bobby Williams was the Spartans' head coach from 1999-2002.

Tucker spoke at his formal introduction at 6:30 p.m. at the Breslin Center.

When asked if he ever envisioned a return to East Lansing, Tucker said, “I hoped … My dream was to come back here and be the head coach."

“I think what sums it up for me is I’m ecstatic, to not only welcome you coach Tucker as our 25th coach, but also your family, and getting to know them a lot better,” Board of Trustees chair Dianne Byrum said. “I met all of you for the first time today and I look forward to many happy meetings and having you as part of our MSU community.” 

After former Head Coach Mark Dantonio’s retirement, the MSU athletic department reached out to Tucker for the position, but he initially turned down the interview.  

MSU will more than double Tucker’s current $2.7 million salary at Colorado University, the Athletic reported. His budget for assistants and strength and conditioning coaches will also increase significantly.

Athletic Director Bill Beekman discussed the search process during the meeting.

“We really began the search, I think, with a very clear vision of what we were looking for in our next head coach,” Beekman said. “We were looking for a person of character, a person who is passionate about Michigan State University, someone with head coaching experience and a track record of coaching success. Someone with a strong recruiting background, especially in the Midwest, Big 10 experience, and someone who is a gifted teacher, in a role like this fit is absolutely critical. And ultimately, we found a coach who shares our passion and our vision for Spartan football.” 

A press conference to introduce Tucker followed the meeting at the Gilbert Pavilion in the Breslin Center. 

“I couldn't be more excited about the energy that you're going to bring to this program,” President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said. “I'm so happy you're here today with your family as well. And I feel very, very confident that you're up for the challenge. And there will be a challenge, replacing, of course, the winningest coach in MSU history.” 

This is a developing story. For more news on MSU's next football coach, stay with The State News online and in print. For more updates, follow The State News on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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