The Cleveland Browns today named defensive backs coach Mel Tucker to replace former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
By promoting Tucker, the Browns retain a level of continuity within the defensive coaching staff, but also reward a coach who is highly regarded inside and outside of Berea. Tucker has been instrumental in developing the team's young defensive backfield, and in developing players such as Daven Holly. Prior to the last three years with the Browns, Tucker coached defensive backs at Ohio State for four seasons, including a time as assistant defensive coordinator.
Here is the team's press release announcing Tucker's promotion:
For Immediate Release
January 12, 2008
The Cleveland Browns have named Mel Tucker as defensive coordinator, the club announced today. Tucker received a two-year contract extension and is signed through the 2010 season. Tucker spent the last three seasons as the Browns defensive backs coach under Head Coach Romeo Crennel.
"We are excited to have Mel (Tucker) as our defensive coordinator," said Head Coach Romeo Crennel. "He has a football plan, life plan, coaches the fundamentals and relates well with the players. I believe he will be successful in this new role."
Tucker, a Cleveland native, inherited a young secondary in 2007 as the Browns ranked 24th in the league with allowing 230.1 yards passing per game. Tucker was responsible for the development of two young safeties in the secondary and tutoring youth at the corner position as well.
"I would like to thank Randy Lerner, Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel for the opportunity to be the defensive coordinator for my hometown team," said Mel Tucker. "I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead and I'm confident with hard work we can improve our defense. We have a great group of players on this team and my familiarity with them will be an asset."
Tucker assisted in the development of starting right corner back Leigh Bodden, who ranked tied for fifth in the NFL with six interceptions. Tucker also tutored two rookie draft choices who made an immediate impact in the Browns secondary. Second-round selection, Eric Wright, started at 13 games at left corner and tied for second on the team with 11 passes defensed, while fifth-round pick, Brandon McDonald, became a force in the second half of the season as the nickel defensive back and tied Wright for second on the club with 11 passes defensed.
Tucker previously served as defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator for Ohio State University for four seasons (2001-04) and also spent one year as the defensive backs coach at Louisiana State University for the 2000 season. Tucker began coaching as a graduate assistant at Michigan State in 1997 and 1998 before taking the defensive backs coach position at Miami (Ohio) University in 1999.
Tucker, 36, was born in Cleveland and attended Cleveland Heights High School and went on to become a four-year letterman at Wisconsin. Tucker and his wife, Jo-Ellyn, have two sons, Joseph and Christian.