Tucker brings former Spartan Hawkins on board to coach Michigan State wide receivers

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — Mel Tucker has turned to another familiar name as he continues to fill out his Michigan State coaching staff.

On Wednesday, Tucker hired former Spartans wide receiver Courtney Hawkins to coach wide receivers at Michigan State. It’s a big move for Hawkins, who has been the head coach at his alma mater, Flint Beecher, since 2006, as well as serving as athletic director.

Mel Tucker made a big addition to his coaching staff Wednesday, hiring Courtney Hawkins to coach wide receivers.

“Courtney Hawkins was a phenomenal player here at Michigan State who went on to have a very successful career in the NFL,” Tucker in a statement. “He’s shown tremendous leadership serving as both the athletic director and head football coach at Flint Beecher High School. I’m really excited to get him here on campus.”

Hawkins is the fourth coach to officially be named to Tucker’s staff as he continues to move forward after taking over for Mark Dantonio. On Monday, Chris Kapilovic was named offensive line coach and running game coordinator after serving as Colorado’s offensive line coach last season.

The hirings began late last week when Tucker retained Ron Burton and Mike Tressel from Dantonio’s staff. Burton will be coaching the defensive line while Tressel’s role is still to be determined. Tressel, who spent the last two seasons as defensive coordinator, is expected to, at the very least, be involved in coaching the linebackers, a position he led for the bulk of his 16 years with Dantonio.

Reports out of Colorado in recent days have also said that Jay Johnson, the offensive coordinator for the Buffaloes last season, has agreed to take the same spot at Michigan State, though nothing official has been announced.

Hawkins played from 1988-91 under George Perles and was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten honoree at wide receiver. He was a member of the 1990 Big Ten championship team and earned the Governor of Michigan Award in 1991, presented annually since 1931 to the Spartans player who is voted the most valuable by his teammates. Hawkins also received MSU’s Downtown Coaches Club Award for most outstanding player on offense his senior year.

In 1989, Hawkins broke the single-season record for receiving yards with 1,080, a mark that is still No. 8 on Michigan State’s single-season receiving yards list. Hawkins also ranks No. 6 and No. 8 on MSU’s single-game receiving yardage list, with 197 yards against Minnesota in 1989 and 193 against Purdue in 1989. Hawkins is still ranked among Michigan State’s career leaders in kick return yards (No. 5 with 1,571), receiving yards (No. 6 with 2,210), receptions (No. 7 with 138) and all-purpose yards (No. 8 with 4,125).

Hawkins was selected in the second round (44th overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay and played nine seasons in the NFL for both Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.

At Beecher, Hawkins was named the regional Athletic Director of the Year in 2018 by the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. He is also a member of both the Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater Flint African-American Sports Hall of Fame.

In 14 seasons, Hawkins led Beecher to the state playoffs 12 times and won three conference championships, three division championships and one regional championship.

Under Hawkins’ leadership as AD, Beecher won five Class C boys basketball championships in the past eight years. In 2019, he received the Donald Riegle Community Service Award in 2019 for his service to the city of Flint.


Twitter.com: @mattcharboneau