Sources told Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel that Michigan State is expected to finalize a new contract for Tucker on Wednesday night. Tucker later confirmed the news by releasing a statement.
Process driven. Feeling grateful. 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/TDv4uCsWtH
— Mel Tucker (@Coach_mtucker) November 25, 2021
The Detroit Free Press previously reported that MSU was working on a 10-year, $95 million contract to keep Tucker in East Lansing. Yahoo Sports confirmed the massive commitment and financial investment in Tucker.
Can confirm that Mel Tucker’s Michigan State deal is $95 million over 10 years, as @freep reported. Source adds to @YahooSports that the deal is fully guaranteed and includes the potential for lucrative bonuses.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 25, 2021
In his second season in East Lansing, Tucker has led the Spartans to a quick turnaround following the departure of longtime head coach Mark Dantonio. Michigan State, currently No. 12 in the College Football Playoff rankings, has a 9-2 record entering Saturday’s regular season finale against Penn State.
As a result of the work he has done at MSU, Tucker's name has been floated around as a possible candidate for several of the open jobs in college football. That includes LSU. Tucker spent several years as an SEC assistant, including as the defensive backs coach for Nick Saban at Alabama and multiple seasons as the defensive coordinator at Georgia. He also spent time as a defensive assistant in the NFL.
The Spartans have been ranked as high as No. 3 in the CFP rankings this season but have lost two of their past three games. Nonetheless, Tucker’s team has greatly surpassed expectations after going 2-5 in the 2020 season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The highlight of the season was a 37-33 come-from-behind victory over Michigan on Oct. 30. It was a win that improved MSU's record to 8-0 and moved the Spartans into the top four of the rankings.
Before arriving at Michigan State, Tucker spent the 2019 season as the head coach at Colorado. The Buffs went 5-7 in Tucker’s lone season in Boulder.
Tucker's new deal comes on the heels of James Franklin agreeing to a new 10-year contract to remain at Penn State. Like Tucker, Franklin's name has also been connected to multiple prominent jobs on the market, including LSU, USC and Florida.
With Tucker and Franklin off the market, where will those schools turn? There are also Power Five programs like TCU, Virginia Tech, Washington and Washington State that also have head-coaching openings entering the final weekend of the regular season. And there could be more.