Michigan State head football coach Mel Tucker is one of the most respected coaches and recruiters in college football. And now that’s about to get him paid.
He’s led the Spartans to an 9-1 record including a 37-33 come-from-behind win over in-state archrival Michigan a week ago.
With the news of the LSU Tigers parting ways with head coach Ed Orgeron at season’s end, Tucker’s name has come up often as one of the two leading candidates to replace Orgeron, along with fellow Big Ten head coach James Franklin at Penn State.
The East Lansing school had no intentions in losing their leader of young men. And with a deal like this it shows their commitment to him and his culture change. Last week it was previously reported on Detroit sports radio that the deal coming was in the $8 million per year range. Still would’ve been a huge increase, but this deal blows that one out the water in comparison.
Detroit sports talk radio show host Rico Beard, co-host of the “Mike Valenti Show with Rico Beard,” said this to his listeners on Thursday:
“Mel Tucker’s about to secure the bag. Long-term extension, $6.8 million, with incentives to take him to $8 million. It firmly puts him in the top eight highest-paid coaches. It gets him Ryan Day money. This is not new. They’ve been working on this for weeks.”
Saban will now have three former assistants on the top-10 highest-paid college coaches list. Tucker, Kirby Smart (Georgia) and Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M).
You know it’s “Brinks Truck” type dough when only three NFL coaches make more, Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll and Sean Payton. Tuckers proposed deal is also 1.5 times the amount legendary Spartans head basketball coach Tom Izzo pulls ($3.92 million)
Tucker Is An Ace Recruiter:
Tucker’s biggest strength as a head coach is his ability to recruit, and although his first recruiting class at Michigan State ranked only 42nd nationally, he added pieces of need for his team.
Some of those pieces are transfers that thus far have paid off, and Tucker even has a few true freshmen playing meaningful snaps. Playing freshmen early is a trait he adapted from his mentor Nick Saban, who plays more freshmen annually than any coach in the country.
He landed former Wake Forest running back Kenneth Walker III in the transfer portal. KWIII has carried the Spartans’ offense while running his name right into the Heisman race.
Based on current odds, Walker sits right behind the leader, Alabama sophomore quarterback Bryce Young, to take home the prestigious award.
The Spartans’ 2022 recruiting class, which is currently ranked 16th, is already proof of Tucker’s relationship-building prowess.
They should have a handful of those recruits signed, sealed and delivered during the early signing period coming in December.
Tucker motivates at a high level as well, something he’s done at stops in the NFL and college football as a defensive coordinator, and now in his second head coaching stint on the collegiate level. He was the head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes for one season from (2019-20).
Tucker’s Résumé Is Extensive, But Nick Saban’s Influence Was Vital:
Tucker began his coaching career as a grad assistant under Nick Saban at Michigan State. He followed that with stints at Ohio State, LSU, and then the NFL for ten years, before returning to the college game. In his return to the collegiate sidelines he once again landed with Nick Saban, but this time at Alabama.
Tucker was recently asked on ESPN’s “College GameDay” which coach had the biggest influence on him, and he was quick to say Nick Lou Saban.
“I’d probably say Nick Saban,” Tucker replied. “He really laid the foundation for me here at Michigan State. He taught me everything during my career. He’s been a great mentor to me.”
Saban was vital in Michigan State hiring Tucker prior to the 2020 season.
Saban hired Tucker at Michigan State, LSU and Alabama, so one could see why Tucker would speak of Saban so highly.
Tucker Will Be The Highest Paid Black Coach In All Of American Sports:
Tucker is making history as once he inks his “John Hancock” he’ll become the highest paid Black college coach in all of American sports. Stanford’s David Shaw is rumored to pull in $8.3 million annually, that could very true, but because they’re a private institution and not required to release that type of sensitive information.
With more money comes more expectations, Tucker and the Spartans have everything they want right in-front of them, let’s see how they handle it. The pressure will be on Tucker after his newfound wealth, but from what we’ve witnessed from him this season, he’s up for the challenge.