Mel Tucker, assistant head coach and defensive backs coach at the University of Alabama and former NFL defensive coordinator, has been named defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia according to an announcement Tuesday by UGA head coach Kirby Smart.
Tucker joined the Crimson Tide staff in January, 2015, after serving seven years as an NFL defensive coordinator: two with the Chicago Bears (2013-14), four with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-12), and one with the Cleveland Browns (2008). The Jags ranked sixth in the league in total defense in 2011, allowing just 313.0 yards per game. Tucker was Jacksonville’s interim head coach for the final five games of that season. He earned the additional title of assistant head coach with the Jaguars in 2012.
Tucker was also on the Browns staff from 2005-07 as defensive backs coach before taking over as defensive coordinator in 2008. In that season, the Browns were second in the NFL with 23 interceptions and ranked 16th in scoring defense (21.9 points per game).
Tucker joined Nick Saban¹s staff at Michigan State as a graduate assistant in 1997. After two years there, he went to work as a defensive backs coach at Miami (Ohio) for one season in 1999. In 2000, Tucker returned to work with Saban at LSU for one season before going to Ohio State for a three-year stint (2001-03). The Buckeyes went 14-0 in 2002 and won the BCS National Championship. Tucker was elevated to co-defensive coordinator in 2004.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Tucker attended Cleveland Heights High School where he was a football standout and earned a scholarship to Wisconsin. He was a four-year letterman at defensive back for the Badgers and graduated in 1995. Tucker’s wife, JoEllyn, earned her undergraduate degree at Illinois and her law degree from Rutgers. The couple has two sons: Joseph (12) and Christian (10).