Jordan Kovacs is no stranger to coaching transitions at the University of Michigan. At the end of his redshirt sophomore season, he saw his head coach at the time, Rich Rodriguez, fired and replaced by Brady Hoke.
Now, heading into the 2015 season, the football program is once again headed into another head coach transition as Jim Harbaugh and his new staff are settling into Schembechler Hall ready to start spring practices.
Harbaugh has seen various visitors from all levels of football come through Schembechler Hall during his short time on campus. Over the weekend, Kovacs and former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson went back to visit campus while both are recuperating from the rigors of the 2014 NFL season (Kovacs plays safety for the Miami Dolphins).
No matter how many transitions Kovacs has been through, he notes that the atmosphere at Schembechler Hall under Harbaugh has remained mostly the same.
"A little bit has changed but not a whole lot but there's certainly a lot of new faces," Kovacs said. "Having gone through a coaching transition myself, the atmosphere was somewhat familiar. I'm sure it will be a very competitive spring on the field and in the weight room as every position will be up for grabs. New life and a fresh start for some guys and the challenge to prove themselves again for others."
Around Ann Arbor and beyond, Harbaugh is a household name to the Michigan faithful. To some in the Michigan fraternity of current and former football players, he is still a stranger in need of an introduction. Luckily for Kovacs, there are no need for introductions as the familiarity with the head coach is already there.
"I've met Harbaugh a couple of times," Kovacs said. "He actually worked out me, Denard (Robinson), (Patrick) Omameh and (Elliott) Mealer after our senior year so we got to get to know him a bit then. He is a personable guy but most of what I've learned about his folklore has been through players that he's coached. I've heard many stories about his competitiveness and unconventional coaching style."
Fans and former players alike are hoping that Harbaugh's unconventional coaching style works and helps the Michigan program get back into the good graces of the college football world. But just how quickly will that happen?
Kovacs is unsure of Harbaugh's immediate impact on Michigan and believes its still a relative unknown. However, stealing him away from the NFL, where he happened to be in the prime of his NFL head coaching career, shows how renown the head coaching position of the Michigan football program still is.
"I think stealing a coach like Harbaugh from the NFL shows two things," he said. "First is a sense of loyalty and pride that former players feel about this university and its athletic department and secondly, how prestigious the head coaching position at Michigan is and will always be.
"Time will tell what kind of impact it will have but I'm very excited about the future."
If anything is true, the excitement is back with the football program under Harbaugh.