Nick Saban served as an informal advisor for Michigan State, helping lead to the hire of his former assistant Mel Tucker. There’s a chance, even if it isn’t super likely, that it could lead to one of his current key assistants getting the open Colorado job.
Tucker spent just one season at Colorado. He led the Buffaloes to a 5-7 campaign, taking over for Mike MacIntyre, who posted the same record a year before. Colorado hired him away from Georgia, where he spent three years as Kirby Smart’s defensive coordinator. He followed Smart to Athens after a season as assistant head coach under Saban at Alabama.
It was the third time that Tucker had coached under Saban during his career. He was a graduate assistant under him at Michigan State, and later served on his first staff at LSU. While all three stints were very short-term, Tucker clearly impressed Saban throughout his career. He and Mark Dantonio, who stepped down from the job just over a week ago, both supported his candidacy.
With the move, there is now an unexpected Pac-12 vacancy. There may be no potential hire more familiar with the league than Steve Sarkisian. The Alabama offensive coordinator previously served as head coach at both Washington and USC. Sporting News‘ Bill Bender lists him as a candidate for the Buffs job.
Eric Bieniemy leads Colorado's six best coaching candidates, but will he take job? https://t.co/FvAYS1q8QR
— Bill Bender (@BillBender92) February 12, 2020
From the write-up:
This is a wild-card hire that likely won’t materialize, but Sarkisian — who was effective as Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2019 — has taken on two head-coaching jobs in the Pac-12 at USC and Washington. If Colorado went this route, it would be similar to bringing Tucker on in 2018.
Steve Sarkisian’s head coaching career at USC ended in a pretty rough way, but he’s been in and out of the Nick Saban career rehab program a few times now, along with a stop with the Atlanta Falcons. He does have head coaching experience as well, which helps. He was also reportedly involved in the Mississippi State coaching search, before Mike Leach landed that job.
The biggest name associated with the job is Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, a Colorado alumnus. While pride in one’s alma mater shouldn’t be undersold, considering how close he should be to an NFL job, it seems unlikely that he takes the jump to the college ranks.
Interim head coach Darrin Chiaverini, also a Colorado alum and the team’s co-offensive coordinator for three years under MacIntyre and assistant head coach under Mel Tucker, is also considered a candidate to get a shot at the job.