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Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will be absent from the sidelines during the first three games of the 2023 season due to suspension. If you were wondering who would take the reigns during those three games, Michigan has come up with an interesting strategy.
Even though he’s allowed to participate in practices leading up to the games, Harbaugh needed to decide who would lead the program on game-day. It turns out that Michigan will have four different head coaches over the three-game stretch, starting with ECU.
It was announced on Thursday that Harbaugh is spreading the love, and opportunities. For the season opener against ECU, Defensive Coordinator Jesse Minter will serve as the head coach. But it’s the second game of the season where things get interesting for the Michigan staff.
For that matchup against UNLV, head coaching duties will be split over the two halves. Special Teams Coordinator/Safeties coach Jay Harbaugh will be the acting head coach for the first half, while Run Game Coordinator/RB’s coach Mike Hart will handle the second half.
This is one way to do it, giving each coach an opportunity to gain head coaching experience. As for the final game of the Harbaugh suspension, Offensive Coordinator/OL coach Sherrone Moore will lead the Wolverines against Bowling Green.
Recap As To Why Michigan Self-Imposed Jim Harbaugh Suspension
All of this stems from the NCAA Investigation into Jim Harbaugh for recruiting infractions. Harbaugh has also been accused of not being forthright with information. The Wolverines are being investigated for impermissible contact with recruits during the Covid-19 dead period.
There was an agreement on the table for Harbaugh to be suspended for the first-four games of the season, but the Committee On Infractions rejected the deal. In an attempt to soften the potential punishment that could come next year against Harbaugh and Michigan, the athletic department announced that they’d self-impose the three-game suspension.
“While the ongoing NCAA matter continues through the NCAA process, today’s announcement is our way of addressing mistakes that our department has agreed to in an attempt to further that process,” athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. “We will continue to support coach Harbaugh, his staff, and our outstanding student-athletes. Per the NCAA’s guidelines, we cannot comment further until the matter is resolved.”
Now, whether or not Harbaugh sticks around after this season to face the COI’s is another story in itself, but the school is trying to be proactive.
As for the splitting of job duties for the three games Harbaugh will miss, I give them a lot of credit for coming up with something nonconlvential.
Michigan fans are just hoping they get through these games without a massive letdown, which I don’t see being a problem at all.