Michigan football hires all-time leading rusher Mike Hart as RB coach

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Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read
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Michigan football has brought home one of the most storied players in program history.

The Wolverines announced Wednesday night that they have hired all-time leading rusher Mike Hart as the team's running backs coach.

Hart, who had been the running backs coach at Indiana, played at Michigan from 2004-07. A two-time finalist for the Doak Walker Award who also finished fifth in the 2006 Heisman Trophy voting, Hart owns the school records for rushing yardage (5,040) and carries (1,015) while ranking third in touchdowns (41).

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“Michigan has always held a special place in my heart,” Hart said in a statement released by the school. “It is a place that always believed in me and a place that I have always have believed in. I am excited to join Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan staff, and can’t wait to get to work with a talented running back group.”

Michigan running back Mike Hart picked up an easy first down in the second quarter during their 34-3 win against Indiana University in Bloomington, IN on Saturday, November11, 2006.
Michigan running back Mike Hart picked up an easy first down in the second quarter during their 34-3 win against Indiana University in Bloomington, IN on Saturday, November11, 2006.

Hart played briefly in the NFL after he was drafted in the sixth round by the Indianapolis Colts before beginning his coaching career at Eastern Michigan as a quality control assistant. He was promoted to running backs coach in 2012 and has coached the position group ever since, with stops at Western Michigan (2014-15), Syracuse (2016) and Indiana (2017-20). He was promoted to associate head coach for the 2020 season.

At Indiana, Hart was a nominee for the 2018 Broyles Award and was named a top-25 recruiter by Rivals.com during the 2019 recruiting cycle.

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Interestingly, Hart and coach Jim Harbaugh have some history between them.

In 2007, Harbaugh made numerous public remarks about his belief that Michigan lowered admissions standards for football players and pushed them to take easy class, using himself as an example. The comments were not taken well by then-coach Lloyd Carr and players like Hart, who said that Harbaugh was "not a Michigan man."

But those wounds have evidently healed as Harbaugh and Hart team up to turn their alma mater around.

[ Flashback: Behind Mike Hart's 'Little brother' quote ]

“Mike is a great coach and Michigan Man who has shown the ability to develop and elevate the performance of the running backs that he has mentored," Harbaugh said in the released statement. "We look forward to welcoming Mike, Monique and their children to the Michigan Football family.”

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here's how you can gain access to our most exclusive Michigan Wolverines content.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football hires Mike Hart from Indiana as running backs coach