MSU Lured Tucker From Colorado With Reportedly Big-Time Money

He'll be one of the highest-paid coaches in the country in 2020.

97.1 The Ticket
February 12, 2020 - 10:51 am

One of the first questions for Mel Tucker at his introductory press conference as Michigan State's head football coach will likely be this: What changed?

Just four days ago, upon initial overtures from MSU, Tucker publicly declared his commitment to Colorado. And by Wednesday morning he had agreed to a deal with the Spartans. 

So ... what changed? 

You can probably start with the money. Tucker is set to become one of the highest-paid coaches in the country at Michigan State. 

After making $2.4 million in his first year at Colorado, Tucker was scheduled to make $2.675 million in 2020, via the Denver Post. Not bad. According The Athletic, MSU will more than double that salary. 

So we're talking somewhere in the neighborhood of $5.5 million per year. That would have ranked 12th in the country in 2019, according to USA Today, right between Penn State's James Franklin ($5.65MM) and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald ($5.15MM) And significantly ahead of Mark Dantonio, who made about $4.4 million. 

In addition to Franklin, only two Big Ten coaches made north of $5.5 million in 2019: Jim Harbaugh ($7.5MM) and Purdue's Jeff Brohm ($6.6MM). 

That's not all. Michigan State will also double Tucker's salary pool for his assistants, according to The Athletic, which was $3.15 million last year at Colorado. And it will make a 'substantial increase' to the program's strength and conditioning staff budget.

While it's unclear what kind of figures (if any) MSU presented Tucker originally, it's safe to assume those figures went up by Tuesday night. So kudos to Tucker. He wanted the Spartans to show him they money, and he only listened once they did.