MSU gives Tucker huge contract
Michigan State is giving Mel Tucker a $95 million, 10-year contract, making an aggressive move to keep a football coach who potentially could have left for LSU or the NFL.
“I am honored to be a part of the Spartan process today, and for years to come,” Tucker wrote Wednesday in a post on Twitter.
The 12th-ranked Spartans (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) close the regular season against Penn State (7-4, 4-4) on Saturday at home.
Tucker’s contract establishes him as one of the richest coaches in college football.
Only Alabama’s Nick Saban, one of his mentors, who makes $9,753,221 a year, is paid more on an annual basis, according to the USA Today coaches’ salaries database.
Tucker’s 10-year deal puts him in select company with two coaches with the same term: Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher. Swinney’s contract is worth $92 million and Fisher’s deal will pay him more than $9-plus million a year, starting in 2022.
Tucker’s deal that expires Jan. 15, 2032, will have a $5.9 million base salary, $3.2 million in supplemental compensation for media and personal appearances along with a $400,000 contingent annual bonus.
“We’re excited to have Mel here for the next 10 years,” United Wholesale Mortgage president and CEO Mat Ishbia, one of the donors funding Tucker’s new deal, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “He’s a winner. He represents Michigan State in a fantastic way and we’re excited for the future.
After winning just two games in his debut during the pandemic-shortened season, Tucker has led one of college football’s most surprising teams. The Spartans started the season unranked and overlooked and now have a chance to win 10 games and earn a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game.
No. 2 Ohio State did show Tucker’s team how far it has to go in last week’s 56-7 win that ended the Spartans’ championship hopes.
Michigan State was very motivated to give Tucker every reason to stay after losing Saban to LSU in November 1999.
Even before the championship-caliber program in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, announced it was parting ways with Ed Orgeron earlier this season, Tucker was mentioned as a candidate in part because he coached the Tigers’ defensive backs under Saban in 2000 and has an impressive resume with stints on staffs at Ohio State and Georgia.
Tucker’s ties to the NFL also made it likely that pro teams with coaching openings would try to pry him away this winter. Tucker was 2-3 a decade ago as an interim coach in Jacksonville, where he was defensive coordinator, a role he also had with his hometown Cleveland Browns and Chicago over his 10 seasons on NFL sidelines.
Whether the season ends with successes or setbacks, the school and its fans should not have to worry about losing their coach.