Colorado just made the steal of the college football season by hiring Georgia DC Mel Tucker.
Colorado has found the football mind that will lead the Buffaloes into a new era.
Mel Tucker, 46, replaces Mike MacIntyre, who was fired near the end of last season. MacIntyre had a brutal six-year stretch where he had a 30-45 record and just one winning season.
Colorado is getting a pro ready coach. If Tucker thought the microscope on him was intense during his brief 5-game stint as an NFL head coach back in 2011, then he has to know it won’t be much different as one of the few Black D-1 college coaches at a major university.
As of September, there were 15, with at least one minority head coach in every conference but the Big 12. Tucker’s hire improves those numbers, but not significantly.
Of the 22 coaching changes in major-college football following the 2017 season, just three involved a minority hire — and just one of those three, Arizona State and Herm Edwards, involved a black coach who was not already a head coach on the FBS level.
And while the number of black head coaches has grown since last season, the total still represents just 11 percent of all head coaches at a time when black athletes comprise nearly 56 percent of rosters.
Tucker paid his dues as an NFL assistant coach from 2005 to 2014, constantly interviewing and being mentioned for head coaching jobs to no avail. The former defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears got as far as coaching five games in 2011 on an interim basis following the firing of Jack Del Rio, but he didn’t get the full-time gig and was passed over for several other jobs he was qualified for.
In 2015, Tucker temporarily abandoned his NFL head coaching dreams and dashed to the collegiate ranks as an Assistant Head Coach /Defensive Backs coach for Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide.
From there, Tucker joined the Georgia Bulldogs’ rebirth in 2016 as a Defensive Coordinator/DB coach. Under Tucker’s guidance, the Bulldogs have been one of the best teams in the country on the defensive side of the football, ranking 16th, 6th, and 12th in total defense.
The official announcement could come sometime today.
Colorado isn’t the first Power Five head coaching gig Tucker has been considered for. Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer showed interest in Tucker concerning its job vacancy last December. Ultimately, Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt landed the job there.
Tucker’s name has also been mentioned in connection with vacancies at Maryland and Louisville this season as well.
In addition to his years of high pressure NFl experience, Tucker is known as a supreme recruiter on the college level. His recruiting has played a huge role in Georgia closing the gap on Alabama as far as talent is concerned.
Tucker was key in landing five-star cornerback Tyson Campbell, four-star cornerback Divaad Wilson and others from the South Florida area in the 2017 class, one that ranked No. 1 in the nation per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Team Rankings.
Colorado was once considered a Top 10 powerhouse in the nation, winning 10 or more games five times from 1989 to 1998 under Bill MCcartney and then Rick Neuheisel. The program has been on the decline ever since and have won 10 games just once in the last 18 years.
The hiring of Mel Tucker, with all that he brings to the program, is a definite step in the right direction.