By: Aidan Champion
Michigan State fans can collectively join in a deep sigh of relief as multiple sources, including the Detroit Free Press, reported on Wednesday that second-year Spartan football coach Mel Tucker is nearing a 10-year, $95 million contract to stay with the program.
The 49-year old head coach has gained immense trust from the MSU and the Spartan faithful, as Tucker will be given the keys to the future of a program looking to be a relevant constant in the college football world for years to come.
When examining the resume of the 25-year coaching veteran and what he’s done in less than two seasons as the leader of the Spartans, it’s fair to say he deserves every penny coming his way.
Through just 17 games as MSU’s head coach, Tucker has defeated four Top-25-ranked teams, currently holds a top-20 ranking on 247Sports’ Class of 2022 rankings, and heads into Columbus, Ohio this weekend with a 9-1 record with two games to go in the regular season.
Tucker’s contract will make him the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten.
He’s come a long way from serving as just a defensive graduate assistant at MSU under current Alabama head coach Nick Saban, whom Tucker will now join as one of the top-five highest paid coaches in all of college football.
From 1999 to 2004, Tucker acted as defensive backs coach for Miami (Ohio), LSU and Ohio State. He then moved on to the NFL, where he held the same position from 2005 to 2007 before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2008.
Tucker had stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chicago Bears before returning to college football to win a national title and making multiple college football playoff appearances.
The head coach not only gets it done on the field, but Tucker has developed a reputation as one of the best recruiters in CFB as well. This past offseason, Tucker used the transfer portal to recruit a number of talented players from around the country, including Kenneth Walker III, a front-runner for this year’s Heisman Trophy Award.
As mentioned before, the mastermind recruiter continues to make moves for the future, as 247Sports has MSU ranked at No. 18 in recruiting for the Class of 2022 with 21 commits, including five 4-star recruits. And he’s not done yet.
Of course, recruits mean nothing without winning. But Tucker has brought a winning culture back to MSU football. In February of 2020 when former head coach Mark Dantonio resigned, there was a sense of uneasiness around East Lansing, as Dantonio’s successor would have big shoes to fill while also having to handle the task of taking the reigns of a program whose direction wasn’t quite clear. It’s not often that a team follows up the tenure of one of its greatest head coaches in its program’s history with a coach that lives up to the standard as high as that of MSU football’s.
But it’s happened. And in less than two years, Tucker will be signing the largest contract in MSU football history.
The future of Spartan football is in good hands. Tucker has proven he can get the job done at any level, and with his commitment and loyalty to MSU now surpassing his ties to any place he’s been a part of in his 25-year coaching history, you can count on his will to win being greater than it’s ever been before.
Written by: Aidan Champion
Aidan is an MSU Journalism Student and Spartan Football writer for: impact89fm.org
Photo Courtesy of theundefeated.com