ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan’s three coordinators are becoming hot commodities on the job market.
Jim Harbaugh’s coaching tree has produced head coaches at Maryland (D.J. Durkin), Vanderbilt (Derek Mason), Oregon (Willie Taggart), Western Kentucky (Mike Sanford Jr.) and Stanford (David Shaw). It could produce at least one more in Pep Hamilton.
Even if assistant coaches and coordinators don’t leave, they become viable candidates for FBS openings across the country this time each year. Here’s what makes the Wolverines’ current coordinators ideal possibilities as coaching candidates.
Pep Hamilton, passing game coordinator
Hamilton has no head-coaching experience, but he has more than 20 years of experience working with quarterbacks at the college and NFL levels, including Andrew Luck, Chad Pennington and Alex Smith.
He was the Cleveland Browns’ associate head coach-offense in 2016, and he was the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts from 2013-15, working with Luck, his protégé at Stanford. Hamilton has coached with three other NFL teams and at Howard University, his alma mater.
Hamilton, however, had his work cut out at Michigan, working with a new group of quarterbacks and trying to maximize productivity from a young group of wide receivers. Michigan fell short in those areas this season. The Wolverines are 11th in the Big Ten in passing (168.6 yards per game) and leading receiver Grant Perry has only 307 yards.
Would Hamilton be better specializing with one or two position groups as he has at Michigan, or to oversee an entire program? Also, Hamilton earns $1 million a year and has a four-year contract at Michigan. Would he give up job security and a lucrative contract that includes retention bonuses and relocate his family for the third time in less than three years?
Tim Drevno, offensive coordinator/offensive line coach
Drevno, Michigan’s third-year offensive coordinator, was mentioned last year as a potential candidate for openings at Western Michigan and Florida Atlantic. He has maintained that he won’t leave Michigan unless the right opportunity comes along.
Drevno hasn’t been mentioned as a head-coaching candidate since the initial rash of firings and coaching turnover began last week.
Harbaugh said earlier this season that he, Drevno and Hamilton have a say in Michigan’s play calling, but with the lack of firepower this season (ninth in the Big Ten in total offense, eighth in scoring), it led some to wonder if there were too many hands on Michigan’s offense. Conversely, Drevno removed himself from the coaches box and returned to the sideline at the end of October for more hands-on work with the offense, particularly Michigan’s offensive line.
Like Hamilton and defensive coordinator Don Brown, Drevno is being paid generously. He signed a 5-year, $5 million contract in January, which included a $150,000 signing bonus.
A family connection may also keep Drevno in Ann Arbor. Drevno’s son, Zach, is expected to be a preferred walk-on for the Wolverines this fall as a long snapper.
Don Brown, defensive coordinator
Brown is one of two coaches on Harbaugh’s staff who doesn’t have NFL experience, but he has crafted one of the nation’s top defenses.
Michigan led the nation in total defense and pass defense in 2016. It’s among the nation’s best again this season: The Wolverines are third in the nation in total defense and No. 1 in pass defense.
Brown isn’t just a defensive wizard. He’s a solid recruiter who has mined talent in New England — a nontraditional football region — in fullback Ben Mason, offensive lineman Andrew Stueber, wide receiver Tarik Black and defensive lineman Kwity Paye.
He’s 62 years old, and like Hamilton and Drevno, Brown has financial security at Michigan. His 5-year, $5.4 million contract includes a yearly retention bonus. He also has professed his passion for working with Harbaugh.
“I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again: Coach has a tremendous philosophy of how he coaches this game,” Brown said last week. “I never have to worry about anything but coaching defense. What a beautiful job. That’s all I can say.
“You know, I work for the best head coach in the country and I get to practice my craft and hopefully keep kids happy. When they’re not happy then you gotta go, so I don’t know about the lifer piece, but I’m enjoying every day, that’s for sure.”
The post What are the chances Michigan coordinators become head coaches? appeared first on Land of 10.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.