After two seasons of having his name tossed around in coaching discussions, Mel Tucker has accepted a head coaching position at the University of Colorado.
The move for the Georgia defensive coordinator was announced by Colorado Wednesday afternoon. Colorado fired Mike MacIntyre at the conclusion of the season after the Buffaloes finished 5-7 and lost each of their games consecutively.
Tucker assumes his duties with Colorado immediately and will not coach Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. It is unknown at this time who will assume those coaching duties.
“Colorado has always been a place that I thought should be relevant in the national championship conversation year-in and year-out, because of its tradition and a seemingly endless list of what the school has to offer,” Tucker said in a statement.
Tucker was the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator and defensive back coach under Kirby Smart for each of his first three seasons with the program, which began when both moved over from Alabama in Dec. 2015.
Smart and Tucker, former defensive backs with plenty of expertise in the all-important phase, helped lead Georgia to a 34-9 record, a National Championship appearance and two SEC Championship appearances (one victory in 2017).
Smart has repetitively lauded Tucker’s work on Georgia’s staff as they continued a working relationship that was fostered at Alabama. Smart also said that coaching turnover happens as a result of success, and Tucker’s departure is the first time the third-year head coach faces it with a coordinator.
“Mel’s one of the most professional people I’ve ever met,” Smart said earlier in the season. “He’d do a tremendous job (as a head coach). He’s been an interim coach before (Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011), and I know he’d do a tremendous job given the opportunity.”
Last season, Kevin Sherrer accepted Tennessee’s defensive coordinator job after many seasons as the Bulldogs’ outside linebackers coach.
Georgia’s search for a replacement begins. It could either look away from the program or stay in-house with one of its three defensive position coaches — Glenn Schumann (inside linebackers), Dan Lanning (outside linebackers) and Tray Scott (inside linebackers).