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Michigan: Coaching

Unlike the past couple of years, there wasn’t a lot of turnover on the Michigan coaching staff this offseason. That’s not to say that there weren’t any changes, or that there wasn’t any off-season drama (or any current drama, for that matter), but when all was said and done, Michigan’s coaching staff remains largely unchanged from that of last season. And for a team that’s coming off back-to-back conference championships and college football playoff appearances, that’s probably a good thing.

The biggest concern for Michigan early on was who would be leading the Wolverines. That’s because for the second time in as many years, there was talk of Jim Harbaugh returning to the NFL. The Harbaugh-to-the-NFL chatter made for a nervous week or two for the Wolverine faithful, but by mid-January, university president Santa Ono confirmed that Harbaugh would remain at the helm. With Harbaugh’s future in Ann Arbor secure (for the moment), the NFL rumors quieted and the focus turned to the season ahead.

While Harbaugh’s coaching staff will look very similar to last season’s, there are a couple of new faces. One of those faces belongs to Kirk Campbell, who replaces Matt Weiss as quarterback coach. When the role opened up, several well-known coaches were mentioned as possible replacements. Harbaugh decided to stay within the program, however, promoting the highly-thought-of Campbell. An analyst last season, Campbell worked with James Franklin at Penn State and was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Old Dominion prior to making his way to Ann Arbor.

The other new face isn’t really new at all. Chris Partridge, who spent five years with Harbaugh before leaving to run Ole Miss’s defense, returns as the Wolverines’ linebacker coach. Partridge produced strong linebacking units during his first tenure as linebacker coach at Michigan and his return is welcomed by Wolverine players and fans alike.

Campbell and Partridge join a coaching staff, that despite all of its accomplishments, is still rather young. Having a staff led by coordinators Sheronne Moore (37) and Jesse Minter (40) and featuring Mike Hart (37), Steve Clinkscale (45) among others, you’d think Harbaugh and the Wolverines would be set for the foreseeable future. Not if Harbaugh has anything to do with it.

That’s because Harbaugh has been stumping for head coaching roles for his assistants. Harbaugh said that as many as four of his assistants are ready for head coaching jobs, but has been most effusive in his praise for his offensive coordinator, Moore. “He’s beyond ready (for a head coaching job),” Harbaugh told reporters earlier this offseason. And he’s probably right.

A lot of factors led to Michigan turning the corner in 2021, but none was more important than the play of its offensive line. And Moore’s fingerprints are all over Michigan’s improved play up front. With the third-year coordinator increasing his play-calling responsibilities this season (he and Matt Weiss shared play-calling duties last season), Moore’s impact on Michigan’s offense will be even greater this season.

But as important as Moore has been to Michigan’s success, defensive coordinator Minter’s impact hasn’t been any less significant. Minter doesn’t always get a lot of recognition, primarily because the perception is that he’s simply running the system installed by prior defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. And while that’s largely true, Minter is running a similar system (both Macdonald and Minter coached with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens), he’s doing so without missing a beat. Michigan finished last season with the nation’s 5th ranked defense, up from 6th under Macdonald in 2021.

Harbaugh isn’t simply handing out false praise when he says that some of his assistants are ready to take the next step and lead teams of their own. This is especially true of Moore and Minter, whose time in Ann Arbor is probably not long. But that’s a conversation for another day. For the moment, with a pair of accomplished coordinators, a proven coaching staff and an abundance of returning talent, for Michigan, the future is now.

Michigan Coaches

Position Coach
Position Coach
Head Coach Jim Harbaugh
Offensive Coordinator / Offensive Line Sherrone Moore
Defensove Coordinator Jesse Minter
Co-Defenesive Coordinator / Defeneisve Backs Steve Clinkscale
Defensive Line Mike Elston
Linebackers Chris Partridge
Quarterbacks Kirk Campbell
Run Game Coordinator / Running Backs Mike Hart
Special Teams / Safeties Jay Harbaugh
Strength and Conditioning Ben Herbert
Tight Ends Grant Newsome
Wide Receivers Ron Bellamy