Michigan Wolverines Football: Every Coaching Staff Move Jim Harbaugh Has Made This Offseason
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Every Coaching Staff Move Jim Harbaugh Has Made This Offseason

It's been a busy offseason for Michigan Wolverines football, with the program looking to rebound from a dismal 2-4 season.

On Jan. 8, head coach Jim Harbaugh signed his contract extension — one that includes a big pay cut and is laden with incentives — that lasts through the 2025 season, and soon after that, he brought in six new assistant coaches. Some are familiar faces, with two former players returning as coaches, and some are brand new, but Michigan fans hope the group can help turn things back around in Ann Arbor.

Below, we have provided the timeline for every significant move Harbaugh has made since the conclusion of the 2020 campaign. The dates next to each event below are when the changes were formally announced, though it's important to note many of them were rumored to be true days earlier.

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Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh has won 69 percent of his games in six seasons at U-M.
Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh has won 69 percent of his games in six seasons at U-M. (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Defensive Coordinator Don Brown Dismissed — December 22, 2020

Former Michigan Wolverines football defensive coordinator Don Brown is now serving in the same role for the Arizona Wildcats.
Former Michigan Wolverines football defensive coordinator Don Brown is now serving in the same role for the Arizona Wildcats. (AP Images)

This was the first move of the offseason for Harbaugh, and it came just after a long meeting with athletic director Warde Manuel, where the two reportedly discussed the state of the program and which direction they each wanted it to go in.

Don Brown's career at Michigan was seen as a success for the first three to four seasons — depending on how you look at it — but his defenses slowly regressed. In 2020, his unit finished a disastrous 84th nationally in total defense, and the writing was on the wall from there — it was obvious Harbaugh made a change.

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Mike Hart Makes His Return To Michigan — January 13, 2021

Michigan Wolverines football running backs coach Mike Hart is the program's all-time leading rusher.
Michigan Wolverines football running backs coach Mike Hart is the program's all-time leading rusher. (Michigan Football Twitter Account (@UMichFBall)

Mike Hart made his triumphant return to Michigan soon after the new year, and it had the college football world buzzing. Hart, of course, is the Michigan's all-time leading rusher, was a two-time Doak Walker Award finalist and finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2006. He most recently served as Indiana's running backs coach and assistant head coach.

To make room for Hart's addition, quarterbacks coach Ben McDaniels' contract was not extended. At that time, Harbaugh, a former Heisman Trophy finalist, 15-year signal-caller in the NFL and quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders, was planning on working with the team's quarterbacks himself (though that would later change).

Mike Macdonald Hired As Defensive Coordinator — January 17, 2021

Michigan Wolverines football defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald insists his defense will be multiple, but signs show the base will be a 3-4 scheme.
Michigan Wolverines football defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald insists his defense will be multiple, but signs show the base will be a 3-4 scheme. (The Wolverine)

Harbaugh found his replacement for Brown in 33-year-old Mike Macdonald, who previously worked under Harbaugh's brother, John, for seven seasons with the Baltimore Ravens — most recently as linebackers coach.

Maurice Linguist And George Helow Brought On — January 20, 2021

Michigan Wolverines football hired Maurice Linguist in January to be co-defensive coordinator and mentor the cornerbacks.
Michigan Wolverines football hired Maurice Linguist in January to be co-defensive coordinator and mentor the cornerbacks. (MGoBlueTV)

Macdonald quickly got to work, helping hire two to his defensive coaching staff.

George Helow, who was the linebackers coach at Maryland and was brought on to coach safeties at Michigan (though that would later change, as noted below).

Maurice Linguist was hired as the Wolverines' co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach. He spent the 2020 season coaching corners for the Dallas Cowboys, but he was not retained in that role, with the organization's head coach, Mike McCarthy, making staff changes of his own this offseason. Linguist's impact was immediately felt, most notably on the recruiting trail. He helped seal the deal with five-star cornerback Will Johnson, who committed in late February, and got the Maize and Blue in the mix with pledge Kody Jones.

Bringing in these two meant that two coaches were let go. Safeties coach Bob Shoop spent just one season in Ann Arbor, but he never actually coached on the field, with a personal issue keeping him out of the building while analyst Aashon Larkins worked with his group. He was not brought back. Cornerbacks coach Michael Zordich, who coached alongside Harbaugh for each of his first six seasons on the job in Ann Arbor, was also dismissed.

Shaun Nua's Contract Extended — January 20, 2021

Michigan Wolverines football defensive line coach Shaun Nua is entering his third season on the job and was the only defensive staff member to be retained for the 2021 campaign.
Michigan Wolverines football defensive line coach Shaun Nua is entering his third season on the job and was the only defensive staff member to be retained for the 2021 campaign. (AP Images)

Defensive line coach Shaun Nua's contract was up after two seasons, and Harbaugh decided to bring him back. The news was included with the press release on the hirings of Helow and Linguist. So was the fact that Brian Jean-Mary would continue to work with the linebackers — he had one year left on his deal.

Ron Bellamy Hired To Coach Wideouts — January 25, 2021

Michigan Wolverines football assistant coach Ron Bellamy led West Bloomfield (Mich.) High to the 2020 state championship.
Michigan Wolverines football assistant coach Ron Bellamy led West Bloomfield (Mich.) High to the 2020 state championship. (Michigan Football Twitter Account)

A former Michigan wide receiver, Ron Bellamy was brought back to coach the position for Michigan, which moved offensive coordinator Josh Gattis away from his duties with the wideouts and had him solely focusing on the offense as a whole.

With the move, Harbaugh let offensive line coach Ed Warinner go after three seasons, moving tight ends coach Sherrone Moore, a former tackle at Oklahoma, over to coach the line and Jay Harbaugh, who was coaching tight ends and special teams, back to tight ends, where he spent his first two seasons (2015 and 2016) in Ann Arbor.

Brian Jean-Mary Accepts Job At Tennessee — February 19, 2021

TheWolverine.com broke the news that Jean-Mary had accepted a job as the linebackers coach at Tennessee, leaving Michigan after just one season. The timing on this development was less than ideal, with the team having been set to start spring practices just three days later.

That prompted Harbaugh to move quickly...

Matt Weiss Hired To Coach Quarterbacks & A Huge Domino Effect — February 22, 2021

Michigan Wolverines football quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss was in charge of leading the Ravens' analytics department of the coaching staff.
Michigan Wolverines football quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss was in charge of leading the Ravens' analytics department of the coaching staff. (AP Images)

The head man hired Matt Weiss, the Baltimore Ravens' running backs coach, to lead the quarterbacks. He has prior experience working with Baltimore's signal-callers, and he has a deep background in football analytics.

This was a confusing move to many when it was rumored to be true the day prior (Sunday, Feb. 21), but it made sense later on in the day when TheWolverine.com was able to confirm that Helow would move from safeties to linebackers, and Bellamy from wideouts to safeties. Gattis took the wide receiver room back over, and Harbaugh stepped back from quarterbacks (though he is still involved there).

This was certainly the biggest day in terms of a staff shakeup. Weiss, Bellamy and Helow each had just about 24 hours to prepare for their first spring practice with their new position groups.

Maurice Linguist Accepts Job As Buffalo's Head Coach — May 7, 2021

Just when it looked like everything was solidified, Linguist threw a wrench into that idea by accepting the job as Buffalo's head coach. The Bulls' former coach, Lance Leipold, was hired on by Kansas following the firing of Les Miles.

Timing here was not ideal either, with, Michigan having finished spring ball last month, on the brunt end of it. Now, Harbaugh is looking for a new co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach. You can find the latest intel on his search here.

Michigan Football's Current Coaching Staff vs. 2020

Coaching Staff Changes — 2020 to 2021
2020 2021

Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh

Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh

Offensive Coordinator: Josh Gattis

Offensive Coordinator: Josh Gattis

QBs: Ben McDaniels

QBs: Matt Weiss

RBs: Jay Harbaugh

RBs: Mike Hart

TEs: Sherrone Moore

TEs: Jay Harbaugh

OL: Ed Warinner

OL/Co-O.C.: Sherrone Moore

Defensive Coordinator: Don Brown

Defensive Coordinator: Mike Macdonald

DL: Shaun Nua

DL: Shaun Nua

LBs: Brian Jean-Mary

LBs: George Helow

CBs: Michael Zordich

CBs: N/A

Safeties: Bob Shoop

Safeties: Ron Bellamy

Special Teams Coordinator: Jay Harbaugh

Special Teams Coordinator: Jay Harbaugh

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