Fri, 25 Sep 2020

Michigan State hires Colorado's Tucker to replace Dantonio

Field Level Media
13 Feb 2020, 04:19 GMT+10

Michigan State hired Colorado's Mel Tucker as its next football coach on Wednesday.

Tucker, 48, replaces Mark Dantonio, who retired Feb. 4 after 13 seasons with the Spartans.

Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a statement that a search for a new head coach is imminent.

"We are disappointed to see Coach Tucker leave," George said. "We are excited about the upward trajectory of our football program and we'll get to work immediately hiring the next head coach to build on our momentum and lead our young men. We're confident this program is on the verge of competing at the highest level and has the resources and support in place to do so for a long time."

According to reports, the leading candidate to replace Tucker at Colorado is former Buffaloes running back Eric Bieniemy, who is coming off a Super Bowl win as the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coordinator.

Bieniemy is the all-time leading rusher in Colorado history -- 3,940 yards from 1987-90 -- and was a candidate for head-coaching openings in the NFL last month. He was not hired, but Chiefs head coach Andy Reid labeled Bieniemy as "ready right now" when asked about his candidacy during Super Bowl media sessions.

According to The Athletic, the Spartans will more than double the $2.7 million was Tucker making with the Buffaloes.

Tucker and Michigan State reportedly reached an agreement in principle over a contract just three days after the coach announced he would remain with Colorado.

Tucker tweeted Saturday, "While I am flattered to be considered for the HC job @MSU_football, I am committed to @CUBuffsFootball for TheBuild of our program, its great athletes, coaches supporters. UnfinishedBusiness GoBuffs"

Tucker produced a 5-7 record last year at Colorado -- his only season as a college head coach. He was the defensive coordinator at Georgia from 2016-18 before moving on to the Buffaloes.

Tucker, a native of Ohio, is returning to the Big Ten. He played defensive back at Wisconsin and was a graduate assistant on Michigan State's coaching staff in 1997-98 under coach Nick Saban.

--Field Level Media

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