Mel Tucker
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Mel Tucker

Mel Tucker
Mel Tucker Jan 2018.jpg
Tucker in 2018
Current position
TitleHead coach
TeamMichigan State
ConferenceBig Ten
Annual salary$5.5 million
Biographical details
Born (1972-01-04) January 4, 1972 (age 49)
Cleveland, Ohio
Playing career
1990-1992, 1994Wisconsin
Position(s)Defensive back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1997-1998Michigan State (GA)
1999Miami (OH) (DB)
2000LSU (DB)
2001-2003Ohio State (DB)
2004Ohio State (co-DC)
2005-2007Cleveland Browns (DB)
2008Cleveland Browns (DC)
2009-2011Jacksonville Jaguars (DC)
2011Jacksonville Jaguars (interim)
2012Jacksonville Jaguars (AHC/DC)
2013-2014Chicago Bears (DC)
2015Alabama (AHC/DB)
2016-2018Georgia (DC/DB)
2020-presentMichigan State
Head coaching record
Overall7-12 (college)
2-3 (NFL)
Accomplishments and honors
As an assistant coach/coordinator:

Melvin Tucker II (born January 4, 1972) is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head football coach at Michigan State University.[1] He was previously the head coach at the University of Colorado.

Tucker was the interim head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) for five games in 2011. He has worked as the defensive backs coach at the Ohio State University and the University of Alabama and as the defensive coordinator for both the Chicago Bears of the NFL as well as the University of Georgia.[2][3]

Early life

Melvin Tucker II was born in Cleveland, Ohio.[4] He attended Cleveland Heights High School where he was a football standout. He then attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he played defensive back for the Wisconsin Badgers football team. He graduated in 1995 with a degree in agricultural business management.[5]

Coaching career


Tucker began his coaching career in 1997 as a graduate assistant for the Michigan State University Spartans under head coach Nick Saban.[6] In 1999, he served as a defensive backs coach for the Miami University Redhawks, and then in 2000 followed Saban to Louisiana State University to fill the same position with the LSU Tigers. In 2001, he became defensive backs coach for the Ohio State University Buckeyes under coach Jim Tressel. In 2002, Tucker was the defensive backs coach as Ohio State won a national championship, and in 2004 he was made co-defensive coordinator.[5]


In 2005 Tucker entered the National Football League (NFL) with the Cleveland Browns. He coached defensive backs from 2005-2007 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in the 2008 season following the firing of Todd Grantham.[7][8] Under Tucker, Cleveland consistently ranked fifth in the league, with the defense making 73 interceptions.[5] After the firing of Browns head coach Romeo Crennel, Tucker was replaced by Rob Ryan.[9]

In 2009 Tucker was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars as the defensive coordinator. In the 2011 season head coach Jack Del Rio put Tucker in charge of defensive play-calling, and the team quickly became the fourth highest rated in the NFL. On November 29, 2011, Tucker was named Jacksonville's interim head coach following the firing of Del Rio. He ran the team for their final five games and was in consideration for the job full-time until Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was named head coach on January 10, 2012. Tucker got his first victory as a head coach in week 14, a 41-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He went 2-3 as interim head coach. On January 12, 2012, he informed the media he would return to his position as defensive coordinator for the Jaguars. On January 13, 2012 it was announced that Tucker would also be the assistant head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

On January 18, 2013 Tucker was named defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears.[10] Following one of the worst defensive seasons in Bears' history in 2013, Tucker was criticized by the media.[11] As a result, the team fired two of Tucker's assistant coaches, linebackers coach Tim Tibesar and defensive line coach Mike Phair.[12] The Bears replaced them with Paul Pasqualoni as defensive line coach and Reggie Herring as linebackers coach.[13]

On January 20, 2015, following another record-setting low defensive season for the Bears in 2014, Tucker was replaced by former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio under new head coach John Fox.[14]

Return to NCAA

Tucker spent the 2015 season with the Alabama Crimson Tide as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach,[15] during which the team won the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship.[16]

In 2016, Tucker moved to Georgia as the defensive coordinator,[16] where he remained through 2018.

On December 5, 2018, Tucker signed an agreement to become the Colorado Buffaloes football head coach starting in 2019.[17] In his lone season at the helm, Tucker's Buffaloes posted a 5-7 record (3-6 in the Pac-12).

On February 12, 2020, Tucker resigned as Colorado's head coach to accept the same position at Michigan State.[18] Tucker's contract at Michigan State is worth $5.5 million annually for 6 years; more than double his contract at Colorado (5-year, $14.8 million) and more than $1 million annually over previous head coach Mark Dantonio ($4.3 million per annum).[19] At the time of signing, Tucker became the 12th highest paid head coach in FBS and 4th in Big Ten.[20]

With the COVID-19 pandemic severely affecting training camps and forcing a late start for Big Ten teams in the 2020 season, Tucker's Spartans made their debut on October 24, 2020. MSU turned the ball over seven times in Tucker's head coaching debut and lost to perennial doormat Rutgers, 38-27. MSU rebounded the following week to defeat in-state rival Michigan, 27-24, for Tucker's first win as a Spartan. After lopsided losses to Iowa and Indiana, Michigan State upset then-#8 Northwestern, 29-20, handing the Wildcats their first loss of the season.

Head coaching record


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
JAX* 2011 2 3 0 .400 4th in AFC South - - - -

* - Interim head coach


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Colorado Buffaloes (Pac-12 Conference) (2019)
2019 Colorado 5-7 3-6 5th (South)
Colorado: 5-7 3-6
Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten Conference) (2020-present)
2020 Michigan State 2-5 2-5 7th (East)
Michigan State: 2-5 2-5
Total: 7-12


  1. ^ "Mel Tucker Named Michigan State University Head Football Coach" (Press release). Michigan State University Department of Athletics. February 12, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ Stellino, Vito (January 24, 2009). "Jaguars sign Tucker as new D-coordinator". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ Mike Florio (November 29, 2011). "Del Rio out in Jacksonville". NBC Sports. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ "Mel Tucker". University of Colorado Boulder. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Mel Tucker, Interim Head Coach". Jacksonville Jaguars. 2011. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ Gene Frenette (November 30, 2011). "Low-key Mel Tucker takes center stage as Jaguars' coach". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ Associated Press (January 12, 2008). "Browns Fire Grantham as Defensive Coordinator". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010.
  8. ^ Bensch, Bob (January 12, 2008). "Cleveland Browns Promote Mel Tucker to Defensive Coordinator". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2010.
  9. ^ Carucci, Vic (May 28, 2009). "Many teams make notable adjustments on defense". Retrieved 2010.
  10. ^ "Chicago Bears name Mel Tucker defensive coordinator". National Football League. January 18, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  11. ^ Haugh, David (December 30, 2013). "Emotions aside, Bears must say bye to Mel Tucker". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ Dickerson, Jeff (January 13, 2014). "Bears fire two assistant coaches". ESPN Chicago. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ Meyer, Larry (January 23, 2014). "Bears hire two assistant coaches". Chicago Bears. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ Wright, Michael (January 20, 2015). "Vic Fangio new Bears D-coordinator".
  15. ^ Zenitz, Matt (August 11, 2015). "Mel Tucker already making difference for Alabama, Kirby Smart says". The Birmingham News. Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ a b Associated Press (December 5, 2018). "Colorado hires Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker". ESPN. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ Howell, Brian (December 5, 2018). "Done deal: CU Buffs to hire Mel Tucker as head coach". Boulder Daily Camera. Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ Steele, Phil (February 12, 2020). "University of Colorado head football coach Mel Tucker has informed CU Athletic Director Rick George that he is resigning his position, effective immediately". @philsteele042. Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ Barnett, Zach (February 13, 2020). "On Mel Tucker's contract, and what it took to get that deal". FootballScoop. Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ Solari, Chris. "Mel Tucker's contract as Michigan State football coach worth more than $5.5 million per year". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2020.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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