February 8th, a little after noon in Colorado, Mel Tucker expressed his commitment to the University of Colorado.
While I am flattered to be considered for the HC job @MSU_football, I am committed to @CUBuffsFootball for #TheBuild of our program, its great athletes, coaches & supporters. #UnfinishedBusiness #GoBuffs
— Mel Tucker (@Coach_mtucker) February 8, 2020
This tweet gave Colorado faithful relief after the Buffaloes’ head coach was linked to the Michigan State job left vacant when Mark Dantonio stepped down after 13 seasons with the Spartans.
But only three days after pledging his commitment to Colorado, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman broke the news that Tucker would in fact be taking the MSU job.
“We are disappointed to see Coach Tucker leave,” CU Athletic Director Rick George said on Wednesday morning. “We are excited about the upward trajectory of our football program and we’ll get to work immediately hiring the next head coach to build on our momentum and lead our young men. We’re confident this program is on the verge of competing at the highest level and has the resources and support in place to do so for a long time.”
In Tucker’s first and only season with the Buffaloes, they finished fifth in the Pac-12 South with a 5-7 record. But it wasn’t supposed to be a one-and-done scenario, and Tucker made it feel like he was here for the long haul by saying all the right things and investing everything he could into the 2019 season. There was hope for the future among Buffs fans and the University of Colorado community.
Unfortunately, now there is a lot of uncertainty.
Just a week ago, on national signing day, incoming freshman committed to Colorado under the impression that Mel Tucker would be their coach at least for a few years of their college careers. Maybe, for the entire four years. Obviously, other members of the coaching staff play a major role in recruiting, especially Darrin Chiaverini. Tucker recognized all Chiaverini’s hard work by making him assistant head coach, and Chiaverini also coaches wide receivers and was named for the second straight year to Rivals Top 25 Recruiters List.
More on Darrin Chiaverini, who this morning was named to the @Rivals Top 25 Recruiters list for the second straight year.
— CUSportsNation (@CUSportsNation) February 7, 2020
The head coach sets the tone for the whole program and changing that key member can sway a player’s commitment. Who knows how many players that have committed to Colorado will revisit their decision now that Mel Tucker is headed to East Lansing.
At the end of the day, this is a man’s job being discussed and he found himself a bigger paycheck and potentially other increased resources. First reports are his salary at Michigan State will be double what he was paid at Colorado.
So, where does CU now turn?
The first idea for a replacement coming to mind for many Colorado supporters is Eric Bieniemy, currently the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs. Bieniemy is the all-time leading rusher for the University of Colorado Buffaloes, amassing 3,940 yards rushing and 42 total touchdowns. He also helped Colorado to a national title in 1990 as a consensus All-American. But, would Bieniemy leave after winning a Super Bowl only a few weeks ago and KC set up for long-term success?
While this sudden and painful departure of Tucker will shake the Colorado football program, there are plenty of individuals still committed to attacking this upcoming season with a relentless hunger and work ethic.
After the news came down, Colorado cornerback Chris Miller had this to say:
We still gonna shine
— Chris Miller (@Cmillx) February 12, 2020