Michigan State locks up Football coach Mel Tucker with 10-year deal; Spartans have rapidly shown improvement in just 2 years

(Megasportsnews.com photo)


Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker has signed a 10-year contract, pending approval by the Board of Trustees.

“The Board of Trustees fully supports a new contract for Coach Tucker,” said Dianne Byrum, chairperson of the MSU Board of Trustees. “We are very happy with his success at Michigan State University and the renewed excitement for our football program among the Spartan Community.”

Mel Tucker has been an outstanding addition to our Spartan Athletic program,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.  “In less than two years, his leadership has already resulted in a program competing for top honors, and I’m impressed by his intensity and drive. Spartan fans around the country are enjoying the success of this year’s football program and we look forward to many more successful seasons, competing at the highest levels under Coach Tucker.”

“The decision to extend Mel Tucker‘s contract is not based on one year of results, but rather it’s an investment in a promising future for Spartan football,” said MSU Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller. “Since his hire in February 2020, the program has experienced high levels of success in three key areas: student-athlete development – on and off the field, recruiting momentum and donor and alumni base engagement and support. Mel has brought an energy to this program which has benefited not only our athletic department, but also the university and the surrounding community.”

Tucker’s contract includes non-performance related compensation of $9.5 million per year, including a $5.9 million base, $3.2 million in supplemental compensation for media and personal appearances, plus a $400,000 contingent annual bonus. The contract expires on January 15, 2032.

Tucker, a 25-year coaching veteran with championship experience, was named Michigan State University’s 25th head football coach on Feb. 12, 2020.

In just his second season with the Spartans, Tucker has led MSU to a 9-2 record and a No. 12 ranking in the College Football Playoff Top 25. The Spartans have been ranked in the Top 25 of the national polls for 10 consecutive weeks, including six in the Top 10. MSU’s seven-win turnaround this season from a year ago already ties a school record.

Tucker has been named to watch lists for National Coach of the Year by the Dodd Trophy and the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award. He garnered national coach of the week accolades by the Dodd Trophy and The Athletic following Michigan State’s 37-33 victory over No. 6 Michigan on Oct. 30, as he became the first Spartan coach to win his first two games against the Wolverines (27-24 victory at No. 13 Michigan on Oct. 31, 2020).

Four of Tucker’s 11 wins at Michigan State have come against AP Top 25 opponents (2021: No. 24 Miami and No. 6 Michigan; 2020: No. 11 Northwestern and No. 13 Michigan).

Tucker’s resume, which began as a graduate assistant at Michigan State under Nick Saban, has an impressive track record of success. The journey that led him back to East Lansing included a head coaching position at Colorado (2019), five seasons as a defensive coach in the Southeastern Conference (2000; 2015-18), 10 seasons in the NFL (2005-14), and four seasons at Ohio State (2001-04). He was a defensive coordinator in the NFL for seven seasons and 11 seasons overall in his coaching career.

In 160 games as a full-time coach in the FBS, Tucker’s teams have collected a 117-43 (.731) record, including 10 postseason bowl games (2000 Peach, 2002 Outback, 2003 Fiesta/BCS National Championship, 2004 Fiesta, 2004 Alamo, 2015 Cotton/CFP Semifinal, 2016 CFP/National Championship, 2016 Liberty, 2018 Rose/CFP Semifinal, 2018 CFP/National Championship), three conference championships, three national championship games and two national championships (2002 with Ohio State, 2015 with Alabama).

Tucker coached 160 games in the National Football League (64 with Cleveland, 64 with Jacksonville, 32 with Chicago).

Tucker and the No. 12 Spartans (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) return to action Saturday, Nov. 27 to face Penn State at Spartan Stadium. The game will be televised on ABC beginning at 3:30 p.m.