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CU Buffs’ Mel Tucker: ‘I am committed to Colorado’

Report linked Colorado head coach to vacancy at Michigan State

Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer
Colorado head coach Mel Tucker went 5-7 in his first season with the Buffaloes.
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Head coach Mel Tucker has reaffirmed his commitment to the Colorado football program.

Amid reports that Michigan State was planning to interview Tucker for its vacant head coaching position, Tucker responded on Twitter on Saturday afternoon.

“While I am flattered to be considered for the HC job (at Michigan State), I am committed to (Colorado) for #TheBuild of our program, its great athletes, coaches & supporters. #UnfinishedBusiness #GoBuffs,” Tucker wrote.

Through CU, athletic director Rick George issued a statement, as well.

“Mel has turned heads here with the culture he’s quickly building and recruiting success he’s had, so it’s only natural that programs looking for a coach are going to be taking note,” he said. “I know he’s committed to the Buffs all the way and we’re committed to supporting the vision he has for our program and winning championships. I’ve said plenty of times that we couldn’t be more excited that Mel is our head coach.”

Tucker and George are in California this weekend for donor engagements. They were in San Diego on Friday and the San Francisco area Saturday.

On Friday night, the Detroit Free Press reported that Michigan State plans to interview Tucker and Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell this weekend for its vacant head coaching position. The report identified Fickell as the front-runner for the job, which opened up Tuesday with the abrupt retirement of coach Mark Dantonio after 13 seasons.

A BuffZone source confirmed that Michigan State did express interest in talking to Tucker about the job.

Tucker, hired by CU on Dec. 5, 2018, he signed a five-year, $14.75-million contract. Tucker went 5-7 in his first season with the Buffs and has generated excitement throughout the program.

On Wednesday, Tucker and his staff put the finishing touches on a 2020 recruiting class that ranks seventh in the Pac-12 – the highest ranking for a CU class since joining the conference – and 35th nationally.

“Mel is a guy that’s a principled guy that works hard, and I think people want to support somebody that’s out there and giving everything they’ve got,” George told Buffzone recently. “I think if you talk to our fans, they would say, yeah, we were 5-7, but it’s a much different 5-7 (than in 2017 and 2018). We’re on the rise and we’re going to get there. I’m excited about what he will do here because I think people will be talking about him 15-20 years from now, about the stamp that he put on this program.”

Michigan State’s interest in Tucker made sense, given his ties to the Spartans and Dantonio, who said he will continue to work with the MSU athletic department.

Tucker got his start in college coaching at Michigan State, as a graduate assistant in 1997 and 1998. Dantonio was the Spartans’ defensive backs coach.

From 2001-03, Dantonio was the defensive coordinator at Ohio State, while Tucker coached the Buckeyes’ defensive backs.