Michigan State intends to fire Mel Tucker: How good is Spartans’ job, who could replace him?


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Michigan State dropped the news yesterday that felt inevitable, so today we’re all in on the big moves plus the dominoes in East Lansing.

Here’s what’s going on in college football Until Saturday …

Tucker Could Be Out

Coach given notice on Monday

Michigan State has provided coach Mel Tucker with written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause. This means no buyout from his 10-year, $95 million contract signed in 2021, which would result in a loss of more than $70 million for Tucker.

The development is the first step in the process of firing the coach. Tucker has seven days to present reasons why he shouldn’t be fired for cause. If he doesn’t, he will be terminated on Sept. 26. The university listed these two for-cause violations in the notice of intent:

  • Materially breaching his contract, which requires Tucker to conduct himself “professionally and ethically, with integrity and sportsmanship at all times.”
  • Engaging in conduct which “constitutes moral turpitude or which, in the University’s reasonable judgment, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule” to MSU.

This comes eight days after USA Today reported sexual harassment allegations against Tucker. Brenda Tracy — a prominent rape survivor and activist — accused Tucker of making sexual comments and engaging in sexual misconduct while on a phone call with her in April 2022, which led to Tucker’s suspension without pay on Sept. 10.

Tucker denied the allegations on Sept. 11 and called the university hearing scheduled for Oct. 5 and 6 to determine whether he violated school policy a “sham.” MSU said it will continue with the “formal grievance process,” which includes the hearing, but “separate and distinct from the final determination and findings following the hearing, your (Tucker’s) previously admitted actions provide ample ground for the University to terminate the Agreement.”

Tucker is 20-14 in three seasons plus two games in 2023.

Michigan State Job Profile

How good is MSU’s position?

Chris Vannini evaluated the pluses and minuses of the job yesterday. How good is the head coaching gig in East Lansing? It easily beats out the only other current opening (Northwestern). But there is an image that needs to be fixed. A few things to think about:

  • Coaches can win there. As a program, the Spartans have played in four BCS/New Year’s Six/College Football Playoff games since 2013. MSU has had three AP top-10 finishes in the past nine seasons. In 2019, Mark Dantonio surpassed Duffy Daugherty to become the winningest coach in MSU history. Yes, this is a program bruised by inconsistency — and on the brink of adding four new high-level Big Ten opponents — but the expectation to win is there because it has happened before.
  • Resources are a pillar to success, and MSU has plenty of them. At the time it was signed, Tucker’s 10-year, $95 million contract extension trailed only Alabama’s Nick Saban in all of college football. The Tom Izzo Football Building is finishing up renovations worth $78 million. The university invested in Tucker, arguably prematurely, because it saw a strong future after the 11-2 campaign in 2021. It wants that future back.
  • The timing is different this time, which is significant. Dantonio announced his retirement in the late hours of Feb. 4, 2020. Signing day for recruits was the next day. Michigan State was behind the curve that hiring season. This time, it isn’t. Now, Michigan State will go through a normal coaching change cycle for the first time since 2006.

And here are a few names the school might keep an eye on …

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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