TUCKER NAMED HEAD FOOTBALL COACH AT COLORADO
Will Become The 26th Head Coach In Buffalo Football History, Pending Board of Regents Approval
BOULDER — Mel Tucker, who has spent the last three years as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at the University of Georgia, has been named the 26th full-time head football coach at the University of Colorado, athletic director Rick George announced Wednesday.
George has proposed that CU’s Board of Regents approve a five-year deal for Tucker worth $14.75 million of which the first-year salary would be $2.4 million and then increase by $275,000 annually, not including additional pay if any of several incentives in the contract are met. The Regents must approve Tucker’s contract, which campus leaders hope to present for their consideration at their Dec. 12 special meeting in Denver.
Tucker will begin work immediately and will not coach Georgia in the Sugar Bowl against Texas on New Year’s Day.
“Colorado has always been a place that I thought should be relevant in the national championship conversation year-in and year-out, because of its tradition and a seemingly endless list of what the school has to offer,” Tucker said. “What we have to offer are some of the best facilities in the country, strong academics, and an amazing environment as a whole. Colorado should be a ‘no excuse’ program. There’s absolutely no reason we can’t achieve success at an extremely high level.
“I can remember when Colorado was dominant with players like Kordell Stewart, Rashaan Salaam, Chris Hudson, Darian Hagan, Alfred Williams and others,” Tucker continued. “Colorado always had difference makers and was very dynamic on both sides of the ball. That’s the imprint instilled in my mind when it came to CU. My plan is to continue to restore that tradition and make sure that Colorado once again becomes an elite national program. There’s not a better place in America to live, to coach and go to school.”
Tucker, 46, replaces Mike MacIntyre, who was dismissed as CU’s head coach on Nov. 18 with one game remaining in the season; quarterback coach Kurt Roper was named interim head coach for the finale at Cal, and the Buffaloes went on to finish the 2018 season with a 5-7 record.
Tucker enjoyed a tremendous run at Georgia, where he was instrumental in the Bulldogs compiling a 32-9 record along with winning the school’s first Southeastern Conference championship in 12 years when UGA defeated Auburn in the league’s 2017 title game. One of the staff’s top recruiters, 247Sports.com ranked him as the No. 14 recruiter in the nation based off the class he helped UGA sign ahead of the 2018 season.
Georgia’s defense is currently ranked in the top 25 in several key categories, most notably in total defense (13th, 311.2 yards allowed per game), passing defense (15th, 180.5 per game) and scoring defense (15th, 18.5 points per outing).
“When I think about Colorado, I distinctly remember when I was on the sideline with Wisconsin and saw Ralphie run out and in front of our sideline,” Tucker recalled. “The excitement and passion of the crowd in the stadium is something that has always remained with me.
“I’m excited, my family is excited and we’ve been associated with some very good programs, winning national championships at Ohio State and Alabama with a lot of success elsewhere along the way. There’s no reason we can’t experience the same at Colorado. It is a sleeping giant.”
He was born Melvin Tucker II on Jan. 4, 1972 in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from Cleveland Heights High School, where he was an all-state performer in football and an all-conference basketball player (the Cleveland Plain Dealer twice named him to its all-scholastic team). He is married to the former JoEllyn Haynesworth, who earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois and her law degree from Rutgers University. The couple has two sons born on the same day (Feb. 18) two years apart, Joseph (16) and Christian (14).
1997-98 Michigan State Graduate Assistant (defense)
1999 Miami, Ohio Defensive Backs
2000 Louisiana State Defensive Backs
2001-03 Ohio State Defensive Backs
2004 Ohio State Co-Defensive Coordinator/ Defensive Backs
2005-07 Cleveland (NFL) Defensive Backs
2008 Cleveland (NFL) Defensive Coordinator
2009 Jacksonville (NFL) Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
2010-11 Jacksonville (NFL) Defensive Coordinator
2011 Jacksonville (NFL) Interim Head Coach
2012 Jacksonville (NFL) Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
2013-14 Chicago (NFL) Defensive Coordinator
2015 Alabama Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs
2016-18 Georgia Defensive Coordinator/Secondary