Mark SchlabachESPN Senior Writer
ATLANTA — Georgia defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Mel Tucker is expected to be named Colorado‘s next head coach after the Bulldogs play in the SEC championship game Saturday, sources told ESPN’s Chris Low.
Tucker, 46, is in his third season with the Bulldogs, after following coach Kirby Smart to Georgia from Alabama. He helped direct a defense that ranked No. 6 in the FBS in both scoring and total defense last season, when the Bulldogs won an SEC title and reached the College Football Playoff championship game.
Tucker and Smart couldn’t be reached for comment Saturday morning. The No. 4 Bulldogs play No. 1 Alabama in the SEC title game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday.
Sources previously told ESPN that Tucker was emerging from a group of candidates that included Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason, Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and Washington defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake.
Tucker would replace Mike MacIntyre, who was fired on Nov. 18 after the Buffaloes lost their sixth straight game. MacIntyre, who went 30-44 in six seasons, is scheduled to receive a $10.3 million buyout.
A semifinalist last year for the Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in college football, Tucker was a finalist for the Tennessee head-coaching job last year that eventually went to Jeremy Pruitt.
Tucker, a native of Cleveland, has never been a college head coach. He went 2-3 as the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ interim coach in 2011. He also has worked as defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears, and as an assistant at Ohio State, LSU and Miami (Ohio).
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg contributed to this report.