With the contract negotiation now firmly in the rearview mirror, Jim Harbaugh is now hard at work putting together a new coaching staff for the 2021 season and beyond. There are already coaches who are out, some who are still in, and some who are (reportedly) on the way.
Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator:
Brown was named as Michigan’s defensive coordinator on December 21st, 2015. The Wolverine defense enjoyed early success under his leadership, ranked No.2 in 2016, No. 6 in 2017, No. 8 in 2018 and No. 10 in 2019. Even with a top ten defense, Michigan routinely struggled against top competition and, in particular Ohio State. Brown’s defense surrendered a record setting 118 points in back to back years against the Buckeyes. The 2020 season would prove to be the nail in the coffin for Brown as his defense struggled mightily and limped it’s way to a 2-4 season, finishing ranked No. 56 in the nation.
Ben McDaniels, Quarterbacks Coach
McDaniels joined Harbaugh’s staff in 2018 as an offensive analyst. He would eventually take over duties as Michigan’s wide receiver coach and ultimately ended up as Michigan’s quarterbacks coach in 2019. Unfortunately for McDaniels, the quarterback position has been a source of frustration for the Michigan Football program - as quarterbacks routinely seemed to regress year after year under his leadership.
Who’s Potentially Out
Mike Zordich, Cornerbacks Coach
If the 2020 season proved anything, it's that Michigan desperately needs to improve at the cornerback position. Zordich joined Harbaugh’s staff in 2015 and the Michigan corners developed a reputation of being extremely physical, a necessary trait in Don Brown’s man defense. However, With a new defensive coordinator - and new defensive philosophy - on the way to Ann Arbor, it’s now being reported that Zordich’s time at Michigan is coming to an end.
Shaun Nua, Defensive Line Coach
There are also rumblings that a decision is nearing for defensive line coach Shaun Nua. The young coach is fresh off of his second year in Ann Arbor and it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be retained by incoming defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. Though Nua has proven to be a coach that players love playing for, Michigan has struggled to bring in elite defensive line talent over the last two years under his leadership. Additionally, the defensive line has also showed signs of struggling on the field - leading many to believe that Nua’s time at Michigan is coming to an end.
Mike Macdonald, Defensive Coordinator
It now appears that Michigan is on track to make the hiring of 33-year old Mike Macdonald official. Macdonald is still serving as the linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens under John Harbaugh and will reportedly join Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor as his new defensive coordinator once Baltimore's playoff run is over. Macdonald has been part of the Ravens coaching staff for the last seven years and has spent time as the team's defensive backs coach in 2017 and as a defensive assistant in 2015/2016.
Mike Hart, Associate Head Coach/Running Backs Coach
Twitter is now buzzing with rumors that Michigan has made an offer to Indiana’s associate head coach/running backs coach Mike Hart according to a report from Chris Balas of The Wolverine. The name likely sounds familiar to many folks in the state of Michigan as Hart still remains as the all-time leading rusher in Michigan Football history. It remains to be seen whether or not Hart will accept the reported offer, but it will be a massive upgrade of Michigan can land his services.