Former Michigan offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore was elevated to head coach on Friday. This followed shortly after it was announced that Jim Harbaugh had spurned Michigan’s contract talks and accepted the Los Angeles Chargers’ head coaching position.
Hit the jump for more.
Moore has been on Michigan’s staff since 2018, when he began as a tight ends coach. He held that position through 2020, after which he took over the offensive line position group from Ed Warinner. Moore was also co-offensive coordinator in 2021-2022 before taking on the offensive coordinator role in 2023.
Moore was an offensive lineman at Butler Community College and at Oklahoma before embarking on a coaching career that included stints at Louisville (2012-2013) and Central Michigan (2014-2017).
Harbaugh had been mentioning Moore as a future head coach for a few years, and Moore was hand-picked to coach Michigan’s final three regular season games in 2023 while Harbaugh was suspended. Moore also coached a game early in the year when Harbaugh served his first suspension of the year, so he’s 4-0 as an acting head coach already, including wins over Penn State and Ohio State.
There will almost certainly be a decline in Michigan’s performance from Harbaugh to Moore. Despite being 4-0 as an acting head coach on Saturdays, Harbaugh was still involved with the team during the week while he was serving those suspensions. Harbaugh is a proven commodity at various stops and just won a national title, and chances are slim that Michigan can maintain that level of success – three straight Big Ten championships and three straight top four finishes – for much longer, if at all. That doesn’t mean Moore will be a bad coach, but eventually, everyone comes back down to Earth at some point.
On a personal note, I’m maybe rooting for Moore a little more than some. Back during the 2020 pandemic, I attended a bunch of Zoom clinics for coaches since nobody could actually get together in person. I signed up for a clinic with Moore regarding tight end play. He offered up his email address and said attendees could reach out to him, which I did with a couple questions; he responded politely, answered my questions, and offered to be of further assistance. There are some FBS coaches who will big-time high school coaches, but Moore didn’t pass it off to a GA or ignore the communication.
Even though Moore seemed to be the choice of both Harbaugh and athletic director Warde Manuel from the start, a few other coaches were suggested as possible considerations, including defensive coordinator Jesse Minter – who is also leaving for the NFL – and coaches like LSU’s Brian Kelly, Washington/Alabama’s Kalen DeBoer, and Kansas’s Lance Leipold. I have very little interest in Kelly heading up the Michigan program, but I think DeBoer and Leipold would both be solid options. Both guys have won wherever they have gone. Personally, I would have gone for DeBoer (49 years old) over Leipold (59) because of the longevity factor; Leipold is just one year younger than Harbaugh.
In order to fill out his staff, Moore will need to get to work on finding a new offensive coordinator to replace himself; a new defensive coordinator to replace Minter; a new linebackers coach to replace Rick Minter/Chris Partridge; and perhaps some other significant staff members.
Moore is the first black head football coach at the University of Michigan, which is both noteworthy . . . and not noteworthy. On the one hand, I’m glad the leaders at Michigan didn’t let race get in the way, which should be expected. On the other hand, I think the most qualified guy deserves the job, regardless of race. Moore just happens to be the top choice of Harbaugh, Manuel, and most of the players.
This marks the first internal promotion of a head coach since Lloyd Carr took over from Gary Moeller in 1995. In the meantime, Michigan hired West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez in 2007, San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke in 2011, and San Francisco 49ers head coach Harbaugh in 2015.
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