Tucker reiterates long-term commitment to Michigan State on 'Draymond Green Show'

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Mel Tucker’s historic new contract to remain Michigan State’s football coach has yet to be announced officially, but the second-year coach made it clear where he stood on Thursday.

During an appearance on "The Draymond Green Show," a podcast hosted by the NBA champion and former Spartan basketball player, Tucker said his vision at Michigan State has always been a long-term one, even as his name surfaced as a potential candidate to take over at LSU.

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker says his Big Ten roots make MSU a destination job.

“I came here and I made it clear in my initial press conference that I thought that Michigan State was a destination job and not a stepping stone,” Tucker said when Green asked about staying at Michigan State. “Obviously, I have Big Ten roots. I played at Wisconsin, I’m from Cleveland, Ohio, my parents are three hours and 15 minutes away, my wife is from Chicago. I know the Big Ten landscape. This is where I started my career in 1997 as a graduate assistant for Nick Saban.

“Michigan State’s a special place for me, so it was never my intention to come here and just pass through. I believe that we’re building something special here and I have tremendous support here to do that, and we’re on the right track.”

For subscribers: Niyo: New deal for Mel Tucker shows how deep MSU is willing to dig

Sources confirmed to The Detroit News on Wednesday that Tucker, 49, and Michigan State are working on a 10-year, $95 million deal that will make him the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten and the second-highest paid coach in the country behind Saban, a former MSU coach who makes $9.753 million at Alabama.

Private funding will be responsible for the bulk of the contract with United Wholesale Mortgage president and CEO Mat Ishbia at the forefront of the push to secure a new contract for Tucker, along with longtime donor and CEO of Shift Digital, Steve St. Andre.

Currently, Tucker makes a little more than $5.5 million per year and is in the second year of a five-year deal signed in February 2020. He is the 13th highest-paid coach in college football and ranks fourth in the Big Ten behind Penn State's James Franklin, Ohio State's Ryan Day and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald.

The new contract will make Tucker the highest-paid Black head coach in sports, surpassing Stanford's David Shaw, who is making just more than $8.9 million per year. Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers is the highest-paid Black coach in the NFL at $8 million a year, while Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers earns the same in the NBA. Providence's Ed Cooley was the highest-paid Black head coach in college basketball at $3.4 million in 2020-21, according to a USA TODAY salary database.

No. 7 Michigan State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) is preparing for Saturday’s game at No. 4 Ohio State (9-1, 7-0), with the winner on the inside track to win the Big Ten East, reach the conference championship game and perhaps earn a spot in the College Football Playoff.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau