On the day he decided to fire head football coach Mike MacIntyre and take the program in a new direction, Colorado athletic director Rick George made it clear what his goals are for the Buffaloes.

"I want to win Pac-12 championships, I want to win national championships and I'm committed to that," George said on Nov. 18.

With the search for a new coach seemingly near an end, George may have found a coach who knows how to win at a high level.

Multiple reports this weekend have stated that the Buffaloes are nearing a deal to hire Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker as the 26th full-time head coach in CU history.

CU associate athletic director/sports information director David Plati issued a statement Saturday that denied the Buffs have settled on Tucker.

Mel Tucker
Mel Tucker

"Rick has not offered the head coaching position to anyone at this point; he is still in the discussion and evaluation stages and won't make a decision on a final candidate until early next week," Plati said.

Tucker coached in Saturday's SEC championship game, as the No. 4 Bulldogs (11-2) lost to top-ranked Alabama, 35-28.

Several CU assistant coaches reached by BuffZone.com on Saturday said they have not been told about a decision. CU's assistant coaches are still under contract and have been on the recruiting trail this week.

Tucker has never worked with any of CU's assistants, and they are all in limbo, wondering if they will still have jobs in Boulder.


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"Obviously I would love to be there, but we'll see who the new head coach is," co-offensive coordinator/receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini, who was in his first season calling plays, said this week. "Of course I want to be back. I feel like there's unfinished business. I feel like we did some good things, but not enough, and I think I would like more than just one shot at it.

"I love Colorado and I'm a Buff and I want to be there and I want to help this program, so hopefully I am coming back."

Throughout CU's nearly two-week search for a new coach, several names have been mentioned as possible replacements for MacIntyre, who went 30-44 in nearly six full seasons with the Buffs.

If Tucker is the man for the job, the Buffs will be rolling the dice on a veteran without full-time head coaching experience, but a winning pedigree.

As a player at Wisconsin, he was part of a Rose Bowl victory in 1993.

Tucker, 46, has worked at the highest levels of college football, as well as in the National Football League. As a coach, he has been a part of two national championship teams - Ohio State in 2002 and Alabama in 2015.

A year ago, Tucker's defense ranked sixth nationally in points and yards allowed, as he helped the Bulldogs to the SEC championship and a trip to the national title game. The Bulldogs (13-2) lost to Alabama, 26-23 in overtime, of the title game.

Georgia came into Saturday ranking 10th nationally in points allowed and 13th in yards allowed this season.

Tucker's only experience as a head coach came in 2011, when he led the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars for five games as interim coach. He has reportedly interviewed for college head coaching jobs during the past few offseasons, including at Tennessee a year ago.

MacIntyre led CU to the Pac-12 South division title in 2016, but the Buffs have posted back-to-back 5-7 seasons since. They placed last in the South in five of MacIntyre's six seasons.

This season, CU joined Kansas' 2009 squad as the only Power 5 teams since 1997 to start 5-0 and finish 5-7. The seven-game losing streak to close the season kept the Buffs out of a bowl game for the 10th time in the last 11 years.

CU's recent struggles are the opposite of what Tucker has experienced. In his 10th season as a full-time college coach, Tucker has never been on a losing team and has five times been on teams that won 11 or more games. His teams have posted a combined 101-29 record (77.7 win percentage).

Tucker spent 10 seasons in the NFL, from 2005-14, spending four years with the Cleveland Browns, four with the Jaguars and two with the Chicago Bears.

CU is not expected to have an introductory press conference for its new head coach until sometime next week.

Mel Tucker bio

Age: 46 (turns 47 on Jan. 4)

Current position: Defensive coordinator, Georgia Bulldogs

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

College: Wisconsin, 1995

Family: Wife, Jo-Ellyn, and sons Joseph and Christian

Coaching history

1997-98: Michigan State (grad assistant)

1999: Miami-Ohio (DBs)

2000: LSU (DBs)

2001-03: Ohio State (DBs)

2004: Ohio State (co-defensive coordinator/DBs)

2005-07: Cleveland Browns (DBs)

2008: Cleveland Browns (defensive coordinator)

2009-12: Jacksonville Jaguars (defensive coordinator)

2013-14: Chicago Bears (defensive coordinator)

2015: Alabama (DBs)

2016-present: Georgia (defensive coordinator/DBs)

Notable: Last year, he helped Georgia to the SEC title and trip to the College Football Playoff championship game. ... This season, he has helped Georgia to an 11-1 record and Saturday's SEC championship game against Alabama. ...Went 2-3 as the interim head coach of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars at the end of the 2011 season. ... He was reportedly a candidate for the Tennessee head coaching job last year and the head coach position at Georgia State in 2016. ... Tucker worked for current Alabama head coach Nick Saban three different times: 1997-98 at Michigan State, 2000 at LSU and 2015 at Alabama. ... He helped Ohio State to the BCS national championship in 2002 and Alabama to the national title in 2015. ... As a player, he was a four-year letterman as a defensive back at Wisconsin; he helped the Badgers win the Rose Bowl in 1993.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33,