Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year. The award is given to the top coach in college football by the Football Writers Association of America.
In Tucker’s second year as head coach, he led the Spartans to a 10-2 record with wins against rivals Michigan and Penn State. Thanks to Tucker, MSU is headed to a New Year’s Six bowl game for the first time since making the College Football Playoff in 2015.
Other nominees for the award include Thomas Hancock (Northern Illinois), Luke Fickell (Cincinnati), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Billy Napier (Louisiana), Pat Narduzzi (Pittsburgh), Nick Saban (Alabama), Kalani Sitake (BYU), Kirby Smart (Georgia), Jeff Traylor (Texas-San Antonio), Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Blake Anderson (Utah State) and Dave Aranda (Baylor).
Tucker was also on the Dodd Trophy’s 2021 mid-season watch list and the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award watch list.
A Michigan State head coach has not won the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award since Duffy Daugherty in 1965. Mark Dantonio didn’t win the award during his time at Michigan State, but was a finalist three times after leading the Spartans to Big Ten titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
Tucker has a good chance to win the award, especially considering that he was able to do so much with less. The only problem is that several coaches at other universities could say the same, like Whittingham at Utah or Hancock at Northern Illinois.
Earlier his week, Tucker was named the American Football Coaches Association Region 3 Coach of the Year. He was also recently named the Big Ten Coach of the Year by both the coaches and the media.
The Spartans are slated to play the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia against Pittsburgh on Dec. 30.