Colorado on Wednesday officially announced Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker as its new head football coach.
Tucker will start with the Buffaloes immediately, and won’t coach with the Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl vs. Texas on Jan. 1. The former Alabama defensive backs coach has agreed to a five-year contract that will pay him $2.4 million per year.
“Colorado has always been a place that I thought should be relevant in the national championship conversation year-in and year-out, because of its tradition and a seemingly endless list of what the school has to offer,” Tucker said. “What we have to offer are some of the best facilities in the country, strong academics, and an amazing environment as a whole. Colorado should be a ‘no excuse’ program. There’s absolutely no reason we can’t achieve success at an extremely high level.”
The 46-year-old Tucker was with Georgia for three seasons after following Kirby Smart from Alabama. Tucker was Nick Saban’s defensive backs coach at Alabama in 2015, helping the Crimson Tide to a national championship.
Tucker — an Ohio native who played his college football at Wisconsin — began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Saban at Michigan State in 1997 and was defensive backs coach on Saban’s first LSU staff in 2000. He has also coached at Miami (Ohio) and Ohio State, and spent a decade in the NFL, including stints as defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears.
Colorado is Tucker’s first head-coaching job, with the exception of a five-game stint as interim coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars after Jack Del Rio was fired in 2011. In Boulder, he replaces Mike MacIntyre, who was fired last month after compiling a 30-43 record in six seasons.