Mel Tucker says Nick Saban had strongest influence on coaching career
Mel Tucker has a resume that most coaches would dream of. However, one of his former bosses stands out above the rest in his development.
“I’d probably say Nick Saban,” said Tucker, who is in his second season as the head coach at Michigan State. “He really laid the foundation for me here.”
Tucker said Saban taught him “everything” during his coaching career. That’s a strong statement considering that Tucker has also coached for former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and Georgia coach Kirby Smart. Tucker has also coached in the NFL during his career for the Cleveland Browns, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chicago Bears. However, it was his time working with Saban at Michigan State (1997-98), LSU (2000) and later Alabama (2015) that had the greatest impact on Tucker.
“He’s been a great mentor to me,” Tucker said during an interview on College GameDay.
The Spartans host rival Michigan today at noon EST. Both teams are 7-0 and ranked in the top 10. The last time both teams were ranked in the top 10 before playing each other was in 1964. Michigan is a four-point favorites but Tucker seemed confident when he talked about his team.
“They’re right where we need them to be,” he said. “Everyone is dialed in. We don’t have a collection of players. We have a football team. They love each other. They love this university and they’re ready for this game.”
ESPN analyst Desmond Howard referred to “the process”, a term that Saban often uses to help motivate his team to get better each and every day. Tucker smiled and said, “You have to want to just get a little bit better.”