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Michigan State all in with Mel Tucker with 10-year deal
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Michigan State all in with Mel Tucker with 10-year deal

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Maryland Michigan St Football

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker greets wide receiver Jayden Reed (1) after a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA football game against Maryland on Nov. 13 in East Lansing, Mich.

Michigan State is giving Mel Tucker a $95 million, 10-year contract, making an aggressive move to keep a football coach who potentially could have left for LSU or the NFL.

"I am honored to be a part of the Spartan process today, and for years to come," Tucker wrote Wednesday in a post on Twitter.

The 12th-ranked Spartans (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) close the regular season against Penn State (7-4, 4-4) on Saturday at home. Nittany Lions coach James Franklin was handed a 10-year extension for $75 million Tuesday.

Tucker's contract establishes him one of the riches coaches in college football.

Only Alabama's Nick Saban, one of his mentors, who makes $9,753,221 a year, is paid more on an annual basis, according to the USA Today coaches' salaries database.

Tucker's 10-year deal puts him in select company with two coaches with the same term: Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher. Swinney's contract is worth $92 million and Fisher's deal will pay him more than $9 plus million a year, starting in 2022.

Tucker's deal that expires Jan. 15, 2032, will have a $5.9 million base salary, $3.2 million in supplemental compensation for media and personal appearances along with a $400,000 contingent annual bonus.

"We're excited to have Mel here for the next 10 years," United Wholesale Mortgage president and CEO Mat Ishbia, one of the donors funding Tucker's new deal, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "He's a winner. He represents Michigan State in a fantastic way and we're excited for the future.

"We got a winner and we're not letting a winner leave Michigan State. Mel didn't want to leave, but the reality is he's the hottest name in football."

The 49-year-old Tucker is getting a boost in pay as part of a long-term deal because of what he has done so far, and what has happened in the past at Michigan State.

After winning just two games in his debut during the pandemic-shortened season, Tucker has led one of college football's most surprising teams. The Spartans started the season unranked and overlooked and now have a chance to win 10 games and earn a spot in a New Year's Six bowl game.

Even before the championship-caliber program in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, announced it was parting ways with Ed Orgeron earlier this season, Tucker was mentioned as a candidate in part because he coached the Tigers' defensive backs under Saban in 2000 and has an impressive resume with stints on staffs at Ohio State and Georgia.

Tucker's ties to the NFL also made it likely that pro teams with coaching openings would try to pry him away this winter. Tucker was 2-3 a decade ago as an interim coach in Jacksonville, where he was defensive coordinator, a role he also had with his hometown Cleveland Browns and Chicago over his 10 seasons on NFL sidelines.

After coach Mark Dantonio retired in February 2020, Tucker more than doubled his total compensation by leaving Colorado after only one season with a 5-7 record to sign a six-year deal worth $5.5-plus million per year at Michigan State.

With an influx of transfers, including Heisman Trophy-candidate running back Kenneth Walker, the Spartans won their first eight games this season, including a second straight win over rival Michigan.

"The decision to extend Mel Tucker's contract is not based on one year of results, but rather it's an investment in a promising future for Spartan football," athletic director Alan Haller said.

Tucker was a defensive back with the Wisconsin Badgers in the early 1990s as Barry Alvarez began building the Badgers into a national power.

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