Mel Tucker will leave Colorado to become the new Michigan State head coach. Who’s next for the Buffs?
This might not be so bad, Colorado
After just one year on the job and a 5-7 record, Mel Tucker will leave the Buffaloes to become the next head coach at Michigan State.
He originally didn’t seem to have interest in the job, Luke Fickell of Cincinnati decided he’d stick around the American Athletic Conference world, and then Michigan State had enough.
This was becoming an embarrassing situation for the school. Michigan State might not be an A-list gig, and it’s not a given that just anyone would want to step in and beat his head against the wall against Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan every year in the Big Ten East, but it’s still a major Big Ten program, it’s still possible to win there, and it still has the resources to go lure away a rising Pac-12 head man.
According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Michigan State will push Tucker’s salary to well over $5 million a year – over doubling what he was making in Boulder – and it’s prepared to provide whatever it takes to help him succeed.
No stranger to the Big Ten, Tucker went to Wisconsin, spent a few years as a defensive coach at Ohio State, and worked his way up through the ranks as a defensive coordinator with the Browns, Jaguars and Bears before helping create a dominant D at Georgia. That led to the Colorado gig, and that led to East Lansing.
He was a part of two national championship teams – 2002 Ohio State and 2015 Alabama – as the defensive backs coach, but he only has one year of head coaching experience.
So why is a 5-7 guy with one year at the helm such a hot coaching candidate?
He fits what Michigan State likes. Defensive-minded, NFL coaching skills, good recruiter. Throw in that he’s the type of motivator and personality that can fit right in, and he’s a great get for the Spartans.
But there’s a chance Colorado could win by losing.
What would it take for the Buffs to get former running back star and current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy?
He would be the dream get as the guy with a Super Bowl ring, the coaching chops to help turn Patrick Mahomes into one of the biggest stars on the planet, and with the fire and energy to be an absolutely perfect college football head coach.
Throw in his undying love for Colorado football as a part of the national championship-caliber teams back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and he’s it. He’s the guy you back up the truck for if you’re Colorado. However …
The gig isn’t big enough for him.
Bieniemy is the right head coach for the right school at the right time, but he’s also the right head coach at the right time for any NFL head coaching gig – why Carolina couldn’t wait a few minutes to go after him was insane.
Will Colorado want to pay him?
It’s not just about paying a guy with his resumé and talent much more than the $2.6ish million that Tucker was getting, it’s about making it attractive enough to stay even if they do get him.
Now, Michigan State gets a guy who should be able to keep the program at a level where it at least brings a nasty D every time out. And now, Colorado has a chance to bring in a possible dream for its program.
The coaching carousel never stops.