Alabama hires former Browns, Buckeyes coach

Mel Tucker will join Nick Saban's coaching staff at Alabama this year.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cleveland Browns and Ohio State defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has been hired by Nick Saban as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach at Alabama.

Tucker worked the last two years as the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and the previous four in the same role for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He last worked in the college ranks as Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator in 2004.

"Mel is an outstanding coach all the way around and really does an excellent job in terms of teaching the players," Saban said in an Alabama statement. "When you look at his college and NFL experience, his resume is very impressive, and he’ll be a positive addition to our defensive staff. Mel’s experience with the secondary will allow us to move Kirby (Smart) back to coaching the inside linebackers, which has been most effective for our defensive coordinator. We’re pleased and happy to welcome Mel and his family to Tuscaloosa."

Tucker, a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School, helped start the Cleveland Glenville to Ohio State pipeline in the early 2000s when he was a Buckeyes assistant under Tressel. That pipeline produced 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, first-round NFL draft picks Donte Whiter and Ted Ginn Jr. and, later, current Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones.

Tucker joined Saban’s Michigan State staff as a graduate assistant in 1997. From there he went to Miami-Ohio, rejoined Saban at LSU for a year and was at Ohio State for four years, including the 2002 national championship year, before joining the Browns. Tucker coached the Browns defensive backs from 2005-07 and was defensive coordinator in 2008.

"I’ve known Coach Saban since I was 17 years old and he recruited me when he was the head coach at Toledo," Tucker said. "He gave me my first job at Michigan State and most of what I learned as a defensive backs coach came from him. He has always been extremely loyal to me and my family, and is a trusted friend and mentor. We’ve become big Crimson Tide fans through the years and our family actually went to the bowl games against Michigan State and Notre Dame.

"When I was invited to speak here at one of the coaching clinics, I really got to see first-hand how special the University of Alabama is and I’m honored to join Coach Saban’s staff. I have the utmost respect this program and what Coach Saban stands for as a man and as a coach."