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Big Ten Announces Its 2021 Coach Of The Year

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker smiles after a win in the snow.

EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates his team’s win against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Spartan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Jim Harbaugh and Michigan might've ended Ohio State's streak of consecutive Big Ten titles by coming out on top of this past weekend's matchup, but the head coach of the Wolverines' in-state rival will be the one walking away from 2021 with the conference's highest honor.

Michigan State's Mel Tucker has officially won Big Ten Coach of the Year for the 2021 season, according to an announcement from the conference. The second-year program leader swept both the coaches' and the media votes to become the first Spartans head coach to win the honor since Mark Dantonio in 2013.

Tucker is more than deserving of the award, as he completely changed the trajectory of Michigan State in less than two years at the helm. After the Spartans went 2-5 in 2020, the former Colorado head coach turned things around in 2021 and went 10-2 in the regular season.

Michigan State was in the conversation for a College Football Playoff berth for most of the year until losses to Purdue and Ohio State brought an end to that dream. However, the Spartans beat Michigan for the second straight season and reached as high as fifth in the AP Poll for the first time since 2015.

The award caps off a fantastic week for Tucker, who also signed a massive contract extension to remain with Michigan State for the next decade. The 10-year deal will earn him a base salary of $9.5 million per year, making him one of the highest paid coaches in all of college sports. “Every day I wake up feeling humbled to be the head football coach at Michigan State,” Tucker

Process driven. Feeling grateful. 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/TDv4uCsWtH

— Mel Tucker (@Coach_mtucker) November 25, 2021

">wrote in a letter to Spartans fans last week. “It is my privilege to work alongside our student-athletes, coaches and staff who embody our culture of hard work, discipline, and excellent – on and off the field.”

The 2021 season isn't quite over for Tucker and the Spartans just yet. Michigan State should be on its way to a New Year's Six bowl game, depending on how the conference championships play out this upcoming weekend.