After a few swings and misses, The State of Michigan confirmed on Wednesday that it had Tucker returned from Colorado as Mark dantonioIs the replacement. The university, of course, used a research company to help it find Dantonio's successor. They also used a future Hall of Famer in an informal capacity.
Citing a source familiar with the situation, the Detroit news reported that Nick Saban served as counsel for the state of Michigan in his research. The news added that Saban was a staunch supporter of Tucker throughout the process.
Extract from the report:
"I am very interested in the fact that the state of Michigan has the right person," Saban said during the phone call, the source said. "And they didn't hesitate to ask Nick.
Nick Saban, of course, has a history with the Michigan State football program. From 1983 to 1987, Saban was the defensive coordinator of MSU and the coach of the defensive backs. Then, from 1995 to 1999, he was head coach of the Spartans.
Saban and Tucker also have a working relationship that dates back decades. Tucker's first job was as Saban's graduate assistant to MSU from 1997 to 1998. In 2000, he was Saban's defensive back coach at LSU. In 2015, Tucker was the Alabama defensive back coach. He also holds the title of assistant head coach.
according to the news, MSU Sports Director Bill beekman confirmed that he had spoken to Nick Saban during the search.
"Mel has made a name for himself as one of the best and brightest coaches in our profession," said Saban in a statement after hiring Tucker. "I think he will do a great job as the Spartans' head coach. MSU gets a guy with endless class and great personality, who is smart, hard working and does it with an incredible amount of enthusiasm and positive energy.
"Mel is a tireless recruiter who knows college football and understands what it will take to succeed at East Lansing. "