Pep Hamilton (right) with Andrew Luck (image via Zimbio)
Pep Hamilton has reportedly been hired as Michigan’s passing game coordinator and assistant head coach. He will be working with the quarterbacks (along with Jim Harbaugh) and the wide receivers. Hamilton replaces Jedd Fisch, who went to UCLA as the Bruins’ offensive coordinator. The assistant head coach title is likely a little extra benefit thrown in there to help convince him to leave the NFL.
Hamilton went to high school in Charlotte, NC, and then played quarterback at Howard. After he graduated he became the quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator at Howard. Since then he has spent time with the New York Jets (QB/WR), San Francisco 49ers (QB), Chicago Bears (QB), Stanford Cardinal (QB/WR/OC), Indianapolis Colts (OC), and Cleveland Browns (QB/AHC). He was Jim Harbaugh’s wide receivers coach at Stanford in 2010, and then he became David Shaw’s offensive coordinator after Harbaugh and Greg Roman went to the NFL.
- 2011: #6 OFEI
- 2012: #54 OFEI
- 2013: #20 Weighted Offense
- 2014: #22 Weighted Offense
- 2015: #32 Weighted Offense
His 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015 seasons were all with Andrew Luck at quarterback. His 2012 year was with Josh Nunes and Kevin Hogan at QB, when Hogan seriously outplayed a limited Nunes. In his one year as wide receivers coach at Stanford, Doug Baldwin caught 58 passes for 857 yards (14.8 yards/catch) and 9 touchdowns.
I like this hire. Hamilton has NFL experience, and he’s been around Harbaugh in the past. He knows what to expect from the aspect of competition and energy. We also know that Harbaugh isn’t afraid to step outside of his coaching tree (Don Brown, Jedd Fisch, etc.) to make hires, so if Hamilton couldn’t hack it, Harbaugh wouldn’t have targeted him.
I know some people aren’t thrilled with Hamilton because he coached for the Browns and his success was mediocre at times, but highly successful college and NFL coaches aren’t looking for co-coordinator jobs. Jedd Fisch got fired from the Jacksonville Jaguars before he got hired and did some good things at Michigan. If you’re at a spot like Michigan, you’re looking for a pro-style up-and-comer from the lower ranks of football, or you’re looking for an FBS/NFL retread who has fallen on slightly harder times. Since that first category doesn’t really exist right now (everyone’s running a spread offense), Michigan was bound to get someone like Hamilton all along. I went through some options last week (Erik Campbell, T.J. Weist, etc.), and they all fall in that category or they’re graduate assistant types looking to move up in the world.