Michigan State football's Mel Tucker named Big Ten Coach of the Year
Tucker swept the honor from both the league's coaches and media.
In leading the Spartans to a 10-2 record, the 49-year-old Tucker in his second season became the fastest MSU coach to achieve a 10-win season. Mark Dantonio did so in his fourth year. Dantonio won double-digit games six times; Duffy Daugherty and Nick Saban each did it once (though Saban's 10th victory in 1999 came under Bobby Williams in the Citrus Bowl, following Saban's departure for LSU).
Tucker improved to 12-7 at MSU and 17-14 overall in three seasons as a head coach with Saturday's 30-27 win over Penn State. The Spartans went 6-0 in home games, their first time going unbeaten at Spartan Stadium since 2015.
After going 2-5 in 2020, MSU won its first eight games, handing Big Ten East champion Michigan its only loss thus far, and debuted in the initial College Football Playoff rankings at No. 3. After losing to Purdue and Ohio State, the Spartans are currently No. 12 in the CFP rankings, which will be updated at 7 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN. They also are ranked No. 13 in this week's USA Today/AFCA coaches poll and No. 11 in the Associated Press rankings.
Dantonio won the award from the league media twice, in 2010 and 2013. Others who won the media award at MSU since it debuted in 1972: John L. Smith (2003), Darryl Rogers (1977) and Denny Stolz (1974). Dantonio in 2013 and George Perles in 1987 won the award by the league's coaches.
Among the defensive and special teams awards announced Tuesday, punter Bryce Baringer, defensive end Jacub Panasiuk and return specialist Jayden Reed each earned second-team All-Big Ten honors by both the coaches and media. Safety Xavier Henderson and defensive tackle Jacob Slade earned third-team All-Big Ten by the media and honorable mentions from the coaches.
Other MSU players earning All-Big Ten honorable mentions: K Matt Coghlin (media), LB Quavaris Crouch (coaches/media), LB Cal Haladay (media), S Darius Snow (media). TE Connor Heyward was named the team's sportsmanship award recipient.