Mel Tucker spent 2019 as head coach at Colorado, where he went 5-7, after three seasons as Georgia defensive coordinator. Detroit Free Press
EAST LANSING — Mel Tucker is expected to start with a clean slate and an entirely new coaching staff.
Michigan State’s new football coach does not plan to retain any of the assistants from Mark Dantonio’s staff, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to the Free Press late Thursday night.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the news had yet to be announced. An MSU spokesman declined comment.
Tucker’s decision obliterates the foundation of staff continuity Dantonio and his program preached en route to becoming the winningest coach in school history. He announced his retirement Feb. 4.
The assistant coaches not being retained are defensive coordinator Mike Tressel, defensive backs coach Paul Haynes, defensive ends coach Chuck Bullough, offensive coordinator Brad Salem, quarterbacks coach Dave Warner, offensive line coach Jim Bollman, wide receivers coach Don Treadwell and tight ends coach Mark Staten. Bollman changed his Twitter bio on Thursday night to “former coach.”
Two other Dantonio assistants have found new jobs: Terrence Samuel is the new wide receivers/passing game coordinator at UNLV, and defensive tackles coach Ron Burton reportedly has been hired by Indiana.
Three of those assistants arrived with Dantonio from Cincinnati before the 2007 season and remained on staff his entire tenure: Tressel, Warner and Staten.
Salem, who was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019, joined Dantonio’s staff in 2010. Bollman spent the past seven seasons on staff.
Those five were part of the staffs that won three Big Ten titles, earned a spot in the 2015 College Football Playoff and won a program-record six bowl games, including a Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl after the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Treadwell was in his second stint during Dantonio’s tenure, returning in 2018 and finishing his ninth season overall with this staff. Haynes and Bullough both spent the past four seasons with Dantonio.
Five of those coaches were dropped to one-year contracts after an offensively challenged 2018 season, after which Dantonio shuffled roles and responsibilities but did not fire anyone. That included Salem ($517,847 in 2019), Warner ($516,924), Bollman ($498,462), Staten ($402,462) and Samuel ($387,693).
The other coaches retained two-year contracts going into 2019: Tressel ($667,385), Burton ($424,616), Haynes ($415,385), Bullough ($387,693) and Treadwell ($318,847).
It is unclear if other Dantonio-era administrative staff members will be retained or dismissed by Tucker. Tim Allen, an assistant athletic director who has been MSU’s director of football operations under Dantonio the past 12 seasons, tagged a number of assistant coaches in a tweet in which he wrote, “It was a GREAT run with some wonderful people- Players/Coaches and Staff.”
The Spartans produced a sterling 65-16 record from 2010-15 and rose into elite status nationally, finishing in the top six for three straight years. But they went 27-24 over the past four seasons due to diminishing results on offense from their record-setting 2014 campaign. MSU is coming off back-to-back 7-6 seasons.
Dantonio finished 114-57 in 13 seasons with the Spartans.
Tucker was hired Wednesday from Colorado, where he went 5-7 last year in his first season as a collegiate head coach. He has worked in both the NFL and at a number of high-profile programs such as LSU, Ohio State, Alabama and Georgia during his coaching career that began as a graduate assistant under Nick Saban at MSU from 1997-98.
One of the clauses in Tucker’s contract, which was released Wednesday, stipulates MSU will provide him a $6 million pool annually from which Tucker will hire his 10 assistant coaches. That is more than $1 million more than MSU was providing Dantonio for his assistants last year ($4,902,552), according to USA Today’s database.
MSU had one other staff change Wednesday as respected strength and conditioning coach Ken Mannie announced his retirement after 25 years at MSU and 45 years in the profession.
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