New coach Tucker: There is ‘no excuse’ for Colorado not succeeding
AP’s top player is one of Heisman finalists
BOULDER, Colo. — Mel Tucker doesn’t shy away from setting the expectations high.
Because lately that’s the only level he’s known.
Colorado hired the Georgia defensive coordinator as its football coach Wednesday after he helped rebuild the Bulldogs into a national contender. He wants to bring that same sort of swagger to Boulder.
Not down the road, either, but pronto.
“Colorado should be a ‘no excuse’ program,” Tucker said in a statement. “There’s absolutely no reason we can’t achieve success at an extremely high level.”
Tucker receives a five-year, $14.75 million contract under a deal that’s pending approval from the board of regents. He starts immediately and won’t coach Georgia in the Sugar Bowl against Texas on New Year’s Day.
The 46-year-old Tucker replaces Mike MacIntyre, who was fired with a game remaining in the season and the team mired in a six-game skid. The Buffaloes lost their final game under interim coach Kurt Roper to miss a bowl berth for a second straight season.
After several stints as an NFL defensive coordinator, Tucker became an assistant head coach for Nick Saban at Alabama in 2015. He spent a season with the Crimson Tide — capturing a national title — before following coach Kirby Smart to Georgia to build a feisty defense. The Bulldogs lost to Alabama last weekend in the SEC championship contest and in overtime last season in the championship game.
Tucker has never been a head coach on the collegiate level, but has learned under some big names. He helped Ohio State and Jim Tressel to a national title as a defensive backs coach in 2002 and was brought on board by Saban on three different occasions.
“I’ve known Mel for well over 20 years and he is one of the brightest coaches in our profession,” Saban said. “They are getting a guy with a great personality, who knows college football, works hard each and every day, and does it with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and positive energy.” Tressel couldn’t agree more. “The Buffalo football family will thrive under Mel’s leadership,” he said. “A man with high expectations for himself and his student-athletes, Colorado football will enjoy a terrific recruiter, football strategist, and an ‘all-in’ member of the community.”
This won’t be the first time that Colorado has hired someone without any previous collegiate head coaching experience. Tucker joins a list that includes such names as Dal Ward (1948), Sonny Grandelius (1959), Eddie Crowder (1963), Bill McCartney (1982), Rick Neuheisel (1995) and Jon Embree (2011).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Quarterbacks Kyler Murray of Oklahoma, Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama and Dwayne Haskins Jr. of Ohio State are the finalists for The Associated Press college football Player of the Year to be announced today. They are the same three finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which will be presented Saturday.
MISSOURI: Coach Barry Odom’s contract has been extended and he’s getting a $600,000 raise to more than $3 million a year.
NFL BOUND: Michigan State running back LJ Scott says he will enter the draft after this season but will play for the Spartans in the Redbox Bowl against Oregon on Dec. 31.