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Michigan names interim head coaches during Jim Harbaugh's three-game suspension

The Wolverines are trotting out four coaches to step in for Jim Harbaugh during his suspension.

Michigan Spring Football Game Photo by Jaime Crawford/Getty Images

With Jim Harbaugh’s three-game suspension coming up to start the 2023 season, four different assistant coaches will get their shot to call plays before conference play begins.

On Thursday evening, the Michigan Wolverines football program announced their intentions for coaching roles against East Carolina, UNLV, and Bowling Green to open the season.

In Week 1, defensive coordinator Jesse Minter will be at the helm when they take on the East Carolina Pirates. In Week 2, special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh will be in command for the first half of the UNLV game. Then, running backs coach Mike Hart will take over for the second half. Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore will hold the head coaching duties in the final non-conference game of the season against Bowling Green.

Harbaugh will return to his normal role starting in Week 4 against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights once Big Ten play resumes.

Maybe even crazier are the men who will be associate and assistant head coaches during this stretch. Strength and conditioning director Ben Herbert will serve as the associate head coach. Harbaugh has praised Herbert profusely in the past, including saying he should be eligible for the Broyles Award, given to the best assistant coach in the country.

Harbaugh’s father, Jack, will also join the coaching staff for the first three games as an assistant head coach. Jack was previously not a member of the staff, but previously served as head coach of Western Michigan and Western Kentucky. It will be his second stint in Ann Arbor, as he previously coached the defensive backs from 1973-79. He’s coached with Jim previously at San Diego and Stanford.

“I’m certain that all will be impressed with the four coaches’ ability to direct and manage the game,” said Harbaugh. “It’s been well documented that we have a very talented coaching staff and I believe that all 10 assistant coaches will be head coaches in the near future. They are all capable of leading a team at an elite level. I know that everyone will handle their responsibilities and help our players to be the best version of themselves on and off the field this fall and beyond.”

There were a lot of different ways Michigan could have approached this, but I’m not sure anyone saw four different head coaches in three games. Nor could anyone have predicted Jack Harbaugh would have some responsibility.

The Wolverines find themselves favored by 30 points or more in each of these contests. Plus, it gives each of these four young assistant coaches the opportunity to boost their resumes as some look for head coaching gigs in the near future.