Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker signed a 10-year agreement for $95 million to stay with the Spartans on Wednesday, according to the school.
Tucker’s new contract, which made national news last week ahead of Michigan State’s game at Ohio State, makes him one of the highest-paid coaches in the sport and comes only four days before the Spartans’ regular season ends.
Tucker can thank a group of Spartans donors, including Mat Ishbia, Steve St. Andre, Brian Mosallam, and Jason Strayhorn, who came together this month to help close the deal as Michigan State prepares to recruit.
Tucker commented on his official Twitter account, “Every day I wake up feeling humbled to be the Head Football Coach at Michigan State.” “It is my privilege to work alongside our student athletes, coaches and staff who embody our culture of hard work, discipline, and excellence — on and off the field.”
Tucker’s contract has no expiration date. His buyout for leaving Michigan State is the same as it was when he first signed the contract: $2.5 million, with annual increases of $500,000.
The news comes only five days after the Spartans were defeated 56-7 by Ohio State, Tucker’s second loss in three games after leading Michigan State to an 8-0 start. The Spartans (9-2) were ranked in the top four of the College Football Playoff polls after an unexpected start, but they eventually fell out.
In his social media post, he added, “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 honoured to be a part of the Spartan process today, and for years to come .”
Clearly, the Big Ten school is a firm believer in the process.
“Mel Tucker has been an outstanding addition to our Spartan Athletic program,” university president Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., said in the school’s announcement. “In less than two years, his leadership has already resulted in a program competing for top honors, and I’m impressed by his intensity and drive. Spartan fans around the country are enjoying the success of this year’s football program and we look forward to many more successful seasons, competing at the highest levels under Coach Tucker.”
Tucker’s deal, according to a press statement from the school, contains “non-performance related compensation of $9.5 million per year, including a $5.9 million base, $3.2 million in supplemental compensation for media and personal appearances, plus a $400,000 contingent annual bonus. The contract expires on January 15, 2032.”
According to the USA Today coaches’ pay database, only Alabama’s Nick Saban, one of Tucker’s mentors, is paid more on an annual basis, with a salary of $9,753,221 each year. Tucker’s 10-year contract puts him in exclusive company with Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, who both have 10-year contracts. Swinney’s contract is worth $92 million, while Fisher’s contract, which begins in 2022, will pay him more than $9 million per year.
Tucker stated last week that Michigan State is a destination job for him, and that he never meant to “just pass through” on his route to another university.
Tucker made his first comments last week on The Draymond Green Show with Green, a former Michigan State basketball player now with the Golden State Warriors. The Detroit Free Press said the two parties were negotiating on the eventual final conditions.
“I made it clear in my initial press conferences that I thought Michigan State was a destination job and not a stepping stone,” Tucker told Green, who played for the Spartans from 2008 to 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, spoke about his Big Ten background as a former Wisconsin player and Cleveland native who began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for then-coach Nick Saban at Michigan State. He also worked as a defensive assistant at Ohio State from 2001 to 2004.
Tucker’s previous contract was set to last through the 2024 season, with a salary of $5.56 million per year. After only one season at Colorado, he was hired in February 2020 to succeed longtime Spartans coach Mark Dantonio.
Tucker had been suggested as a possible coach possibility for LSU, which revealed on Oct. 17 that coach Ed Orgeron will not return in 2022.
The Spartans will finish the regular season with a home game against Penn State on Saturday, looking for their 10th win (7-4).
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