MSU coach Mel Tucker set to be highest-paid Black coach in sports

The deal will set a standard for African-American college coaches.

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According to reports out of Lansing, Mich., Michigan State University football coach Mel Tucker may become the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten and among the highest-paid Black coach in sports. 

The Spartans are reportedly preparing to offer Tucker an historic $95 million, 10-year contract extension, according to The Detroit Free Press. University sources have confirmed that the deal is in the works. According to the report, MSU alumni Mat Ishbia and Steve St. Andre will donate private funding to the university to make the raise happen. 

Maryland v Michigan State
Head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans on Nov. 13, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

Ishbia is president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage and previously donated $12 million to his alma mater to construct a new football facility. He was a member of the 2000 Spartans national championship basketball team and graduated from MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business in 2003. St. Andre is the founder of Shift Digital, a marketing firm that creates websites for automotive dealerships and manufacturers. 

The Free Press report says that Alabama coach Nick Saban is the only other coach who will make more than Tucker under the new contract. 

In an appearance on The Draymond Green Show, Tucker commented on the contract extension: “I always made it clear that I thought Michigan State was a destination job, not a stepping stone. I have Big Ten roots. 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 as a graduate assistant for Nick Saban,” he said.

He added, “Michigan State is a special place for me. 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 and we’re on the right track.”

Tucker is the first coach in Michigan State history to beat the University of Michigan in each of his first two seasons. He also led the Spartans to a 9-1 record. The extension would retain the coach and keep the team on the national stage. One of his running backs, Kenneth Walker III has become a candidate for the Heisman trophy. 

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