Nothing But Good: Mel Tucker’s tie to Michigan State is only positive

Colorado Buffaloes head coach Mel Tucker looks on in the first half against the Washington State Cougars at Martin Stadium. James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Question: Does anyone ever interview Nick Saban for a job opening in college football?

How about Dabo Swinney?

I don’t know for a fact, but I don’t think so. Certainly not annually, if ever.

That’s not because they’re not great coaches. They are. It’s because they’re at places they’d never leave. They’re making money that’s hard to match. They’ve got programs and facilities that can’t be topped.

Over the weekend, a scare traveled through those who follow the CU Buffs football program. Recently, the vibe at CU has been a good one – the Buffs finally have a head coach that seems to have the right stuff. Though he’s only been on the job for one season in Boulder, though he’s got just five wins as a head coach on his resume, though he’s been recruiting future Buffs for just a little over a year now, there’s a feeling that Tucker is the right man for the job of bringing the Buffs back to glory.

Michigan State thought the same thing of Tucker, and that’s where the “scare” came from. The Spartans were interested in making Tucker their newest head coach.

In major college sports, it’s a fine line between fact and rumor, truth and speculation. There was a belief that Tucker had already interviewed. Then, we weren’t really sure – Was the interest reciprocated? Was there an in-person interview? A phone conversation? And finally, none of it mattered, as Tucker himself squashed any further speculation by tweeting that, in so many words, he was proud to be a Buff and was going nowhere.

Some weren’t happy. Could Tucker be a short-timer at CU? Why interview if you’re not interested?

Others applied modern-day employment logic: If you’ve got a chance to better yourself or your position in life, well, you listen at the very least – regardless of what type of job you have or who you work for.

There’s no way to know exactly what Tucker was thinking or thinks now. All we know is that he’s still a Buff, and that, for most, is a great thing.

Really, the entire situation should be viewed as “good” – no matter how scary it might have been.

Good: That CU currently employs a coach that someone else might want. Nobody tried to steal Dan Hawkins or Jon Embree.

Good: That Tucker stayed. That might sound like stating the obvious, but to conclude the grass wasn’t greener shows that the program in Boulder has come a long way towards re-establishing itself as one of the treasured programs in bigtime college football.

Good: That Tucker’s current deal at CU is competitive. Rest assured that if the money or other variables at Michigan State was vastly different (see bigger, better), most coaches would have left.

Good: That the custodians of CU athletics – Rick George, donors, fans, the institution in general – still have a little work to do. The Buffs have come a long way with new facilities and more, but the truth is, CU is still not Alabama or Clemson. Not yet. And that’s okay – not many are. But so long as other schools are bold enough to pick up the phone and express interest in a CU coach, it means that they believe they might present an “upgrade.” Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but it keeps those who support CU on their toes; in other words, it was a good reminder that there’s always room to improve.

Next fall, Mel Tucker will step onto the turf at Folsom Field in his newest Nikes and shorts (as in, short pants), and all will feel right in Boulder. But to be great, the pursuit must be relentless, just as Tucker tells his players.

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