LAKE FOREST, IL – The Chicago Bears reached an agreement with Mel Tucker today, making him their defensive coordinator.
Tucker brings 16 years of defensive coaching experience to the Bears including the last four as the Jaguars defensive coordinator, adding the title of assistant head coach in 2012.
During the 2011 season, Tucker spent the final five games as interim head coach of the Jaguars. Over the course of that season, the Jaguars were sixth in the NFL in total defense (313.0 yards per game) up from 28th in 2010 (371.8). The 313.0 yards per game were the fewest allowed by Jacksonville’s defense since 2006. In 2011, they also ranked eighth in passing defense (208.8 yards per game), ninth in rushing defense (104.2), allowed the second fewest completions of 20-plus yards (43), forced the second most three-and-out drives (57) and were third in first downs allowed (268) and plays of 20-plus yards allowed (51).
Prior to his time in Jacksonville, Tucker spent four years with the Cleveland Browns (2005-08), serving as the defensive back coach for the first three seasons before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2008.
During those four seasons, the Browns were fifth in the NFL with 73 interceptions and seventh in gross passing yards allowed (212.8). They also allowed the fourth-fewest completions of 25-plus yards (78). As defensive coordinator in 2008, Cleveland was tied for third in the NFL with 31 takeaways and second in the league with 23 interceptions.
Before joining the NFL coaching ranks, Tucker spent eight seasons working at the collegiate level.
From 2001-04, Tucker was on the Ohio State coaching staff working with the defensive backs before serving as co-defensive coordinator during the 2004 season. Under his tutelage, two Buckeyes, safeties Michael Doss (2002) and Will Allen (2003), were named first-team All-Americans by the Associated Press, and cornerback Chris Gamble (2002) was a second-team selection by The Sporting News. The Buckeyes won the national title during the 2002 season with Doss earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Fiesta Bowl MVP honors that year.
In 2000, Tucker served as the defensive backs coach at LSU under then-head coach Nick Saban. He got his coaching start under Saban at Michigan State working as a graduate assistant from 1997-98 before serving as the defensive backs coach at Miami (Ohio) in 1999.
Tucker was a four-year defensive back at the University of Wisconsin (1992-95), earning a degree in agricultural business management in 1995. An Ohio native, Tucker and his wife, Jo-Ellyn, have two sons, Joseph and Christian.
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