April 13, 2024

SAD NEWS: Michigan Football’s Coaching Staff Dealt Major Blow

When Michigan lost head coach Jim Harbaugh to the Los Angeles Chargers, we knew the Wolverines would lose pieces of its coaching staff along with its former head coach. Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh were those expected pieces, while strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert was a question mark.

Jim Harbaugh leaving Michigan football feels like it was destiny

On Monday, news broke that Herbert too would join Harbaugh in the National Football League, dealing the Wolverines a major blow in both the program’s recruiting and developmental operations.

Over the past three seasons, as Michigan finally got over the hump against Ohio State, started beating the Buckeyes regularly, won three Big Ten championships and eventually a national championship, Herbert was largely credited with establishing the Wolverines’ culture of toughness, togetherness and persevering through adversity. It’s been widely reported that the appeal of training with Herbert was also one of Michigan’s top selling points to prospects on the recruiting trail.

Retaining Herbert was arguably the most-important, first challenge for new head coach Sherrone Moore after his promotion. There was optimism in Michigan’s ability to hold on to Herbert’s services. The straight line thinking was that the strength coach could make a bigger impact at the college level than in the NFL, developing 18-to-23 year olds rather than already-established professional athletes. However, Herbert’s strong relationship with Harbaugh proved too much for Moore and Michigan to overcome.

Sherrone Moore Named Michigan's Head Football Coach - University of Michigan  Athletics

Herbert’s absence leaves huge shoes for Michigan to fill and, like with Moore, the Wolverines chose to fill the position in-house by promoting Herbert’s second-in-command — Justin Tress — as head strength coach. Tress has been Herbert’s right-hand man ever since Harbaugh hired Herbert in 2018, and Michigan has to hope that Tress can continue laying the groundwork that his predecessor excelled at over these past three years.

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