Mel Tucker

Head Football Coach Michigan State University.

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“Mental toughness is deciding ahead of time that you’re going to eliminate all excuses & all explanations.”

“Mental toughness is knowing that you always have more in the tank, you always have more to give.”

“I’m going to control my mind & I’m going to make it happen, period. & If I have help, good. If I don’t have help, it’s me, I’m going to get it done.”

“We’re not going to let our fears hold us back. We may have anxiety, we may have fears, we may have hesitation but we’re going to blow right through that.”

“If you don’t get it today, you gonna get it tomorrow. If you lost this week, you’ll find a way to get it done next week. That’s what mental toughness is all about.”

“Mental toughness is saying ‘Listen, it’s going to happen & I get knocked down, I get set back I’m just coming back stronger the next time.’”

Mel Tucker, a 26-year coaching veteran with championship experience, was named Michigan State University’s 25th head football coach on Feb. 12, 2020.

In just his second year in East Lansing in 2021, Tucker led MSU to an 11-2 record, a Top 10 ranking, and a win in the New Year’s Six with a victory over ACC Champion and No. 12 Pittsburgh in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Tucker was named a finalist for National Coach of the Year by multiple organizations, including the American Football Coaches Association, the Paul Bear Bryant Awards, the Football Writers Association of America and the Maxwell Football Club. He was also named the Big Ten Coach of the Year by both the coaches and media and the AFCA Region 3 Coach of the Year. In June 2022, Tucker was named the College Coach of the Year by the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches.

Going from two wins in 2020 to 11 wins in 2021, MSU completed the biggest turnaround in school history (previous: seven-game improvement from 2016 to 2017) and finished the season ranked No. 8 in the AFCA Coaches Poll and No. 9 in The Associated Press Poll. Tucker is the earliest Spartan coach to win double-figure games in a season (previous: Mark Dantonio with 11 wins in his fourth season at MSU in 2010).

Tucker’s resume, which began as a graduate assistant at Michigan State under Nick Saban, has an impressive track record of success. The journey that led him back to East Lansing included a head coaching position at Colorado (2019), five seasons as a defensive coach in the Southeastern Conference (2000; 2015-18), 10 seasons in the NFL (2005-14), and four seasons at Ohio State (2001-04). He was a defensive coordinator in the NFL for seven seasons and 11 seasons overall in his coaching career.


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