Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker on Wednesday agreed to the new contract that made headlines around college football last week, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
Tucker signed a 10-year deal worth $95 million to remain with the Spartans, sources confirmed, becoming one of the highest paid coaches in the sport, along the way.
Tucker can thank a group of Spartans donors, who gathered to help complete the deal this month, sources said: Mat Ishbia, Steve St. Andre, Brian Mosallam and Jason Strayhorn.
“Every day I wake up feeling humbled to be the Head Football Coach at Michigan State,” Tucker wrote in a letter posted on his official Twitter account. “It is my privilege to work alongside out student athletes, coaches and staff who embody our culture of hard work, discipline, and excellence — on and off the field.”
The news comes five days after the Spartans dropped a 56-7 decision at Ohio State, Tucker’s second loss in his last three games after Michigan State opened the year at 8-0. The surprising start landed the Spartans (9-2) in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings before ultimately dropping.
“This is a process to build a championship-winning program,” he wrote in his social media post. “A process that drives us to be better. A process that demands relentless soul and grit. A process that requires the support from Spartans across the globe. I am honored to be a part of the Spartan process today, and for years to come.”
Last week, Tucker said Michigan State is a destination job and that he never intended to “just pass through” on his way to another program.
Speaking on The Draymond Green Show with Green, a former basketball star at Michigan State now with the Golden State Warriors, Tucker made his first comments last week since the Detroit Free Press reported the two sides were working on the eventual final terms.
“I made it clear in my initial press conferences that I thought Michigan State was a destination job and not a stepping stone,” Tucker, in his second season in East Lansing, Michigan, told Green, who played for the Spartans from 2008-2012. “It was never my intention to come here and just pass through. I believe that we’re building something special here. I have tremendous support here to do that, and we’re on the right track.”
Tucker, 49, mentioned his roots in the Big Ten as a former Wisconsin player and a native of Cleveland who started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan State for then-coach Nick Saban. He also spent 2001 to 2004 as a defensive assistant at Ohio State.
Tucker’s original deal was scheduled to run through the 2024 season, carrying a $5.56 million annual salary. In February 2020, he was hired after only one season at Colorado to replace longtime Spartans coach Mark Dantonio.
Tucker’s name had been mentioned as a potential candidate for the coaching vacancy at LSU, which announced Oct. 17 that coach Ed Orgeron would not return in 2022.
The Spartans will close the regular season on Saturday, seeking their 10th win, with a home game against Penn State (7-4).