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MSU hires Colorado coach Mel Tucker to replace Mark Dantonio

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan State University has a new football coach. The school announced Wednesday that Mel Tucker will replace Mark Dantonio next season.

Dantonio retired from MSU last week after 13 seasons with the school. Tucker was previously the head coach at the University of Colorado.

The MSU Board of Trustees approved Tucker's hiring on Wednesday evening, making him MSU's 25th head coach.

In a statement, MSU Athletic Director Bill Beekman said, “It’s fitting that Mel returns to the place where his coaching career began as a graduate assistant. While he returns to Michigan State with a loftier title, his passion is every bit as fierce. Head football coach might be his title, but he will be an amazing ambassador for our department, our university and more than 550,000 living alums.”

Details on Tucker's contract were not immediately available, but the Spartans are expected to double his roughly $2.7 million salary.

Tucker played defensive back at Wisconsin in the 1990s. His coaching career began as a graduate assistant at MSU in 1997, working under Dantonio and then head-coach Nick Saban. Last year was Tucker’s first season as a head coach, except for a stint as interim head coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL. He’s been an assistant coach for both college and NFL teams, including as a defensive back coach for Ohio State University.

Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
“This is the right time for me to be here. That’s really what it comes down to," Tucker told reporters on Wednesday.

In a statement, Tucker said, “Today, I am excited to get to work for the Spartans. Together, we will be relentless to create an integrity-filled and winning culture for our staff, coaches and student-athletes in everything we do – on and off the field.”

This post was updated Wednesday, February 12 at 5:42 p.m.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
Lauren Talley is Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition producer. She produces and edits studio interviews and feature stories, and helps manage the “Mornings in Michigan” series. Lauren also serves as the lead substitute host for Morning Edition.
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