It didn’t take Michigan long to replace Jim Harbaugh — two days, in fact — as the national champion Wolverines announced the promotion of offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Sherrone Moore to head coach on Friday.
Even before he left to take over the Los Angeles Chargers, Jim Harbaugh had been touting his prospective replacement at Michigan.
Harbaugh said in the lead-up to the national championship game this month that Moore was ready to be a head coach, considering him “proven” based on a 4-0 record as interim coach that included wins at Penn State and over Ohio State during Harbaugh’s multiple 2023 suspensions.
Michigan went 15-0, beating Washington in the College Football Playoff national championship two weeks ago to cap a bizarre and scandalous season during which Harbaugh served two suspensions for separate rules violations. He went 86-25 as Michigan’s head coach.
Now the job belongs to Moore and it is an opportunity he has coveted.
“I have been preparing my entire coaching career for this opportunity and I can’t think of a better place to be head coach than at the University of Michigan,” Moore said in a statement. “We will do everything each day as a TEAM to continue the legacy of championship football that has been played at the University of Michigan for the past 144 years. Our standards will not change. We will be a tough, physical, disciplined, hungry, championship-level team that loves football and plays with passion for the game, the winged helmet and each other.
“We will also continue to achieve excellence off the field, in the classroom and in our communities. I am excited to start working in this new role with our players, coaches and staff.”
Athletic director Warde Manuel was impressed with how Moore handled things during his head-coaching opportunities this past season.
“Sherrone has proven to be a great leader for our football program, especially the offensive line and players on the offensive side of the football,” Manuel said. “He is a dynamic, fierce and competitive individual who gets the best out of the players he mentors. The players love playing for him and being with him in the building every day.
“Sherrone stepped up this fall and served as the interim head coach when the program and especially the team needed him. Sherrone handled that situation in a way that sealed my already-growing confidence in him. He didn’t make it about him, it was always about the team! We are thrilled to have Sherrone and his wife, Kelli, and the entire Moore family step into this new role for our football program and university community.”
Moore, who turns 38 next week, had never been a head coach at any level. He played guard at Oklahoma during Bob Stoops’ heyday, and said prior to the Rose Bowl he appreciated the opportunity to get a feel for calling the shots on the Michigan sideline.
“The biggest difference is that when you’re the head coach you got to talk with the reps a lot, and that communication can be positive, can be a little negative,” Moore said in Pasadena, Calif. “But I try to manage that as best as possible — making the decisions on the fly in those situations, as a coordinator, especially going for it on fourth down, when you have a head coach there you’re counting on him.
“When you’re the head coach you kind of make that call yourself. But me and (Harbaugh), we have the same mindset of how we would call it, how we would do it in those situations. Those are the biggest differences going from just a coordinator to the head coach.”
Moore arrived at Michigan in 2018 and became co-offensive coordinator in 2020. While not what many in the fanbase would call a “Michigan Man,” Moore said before the national title game that he was more than content in Ann Arbor and not chasing a head-coaching position, citing loyalty to the Wolverines.
Moore was a 2023 finalist for the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation’s top assistant coach.