Multiple sources have confirmed for The Michigan Insider that Jim Harbaugh has followed up his splash hire of former Alabama co-defensive coordinator Josh Gattis by filling one of his two defensive vacancies with former Boston College co-defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach Anthony Campanile. The Fair Lawn (N.J.) native spent the last three seasons helping the Eagles field one of the nation’s top performing secondaries. He interviewed with the Wolverines Tuesday, and now will bring his expertise to Ann Arbor.
At Michigan Campanile could wind up coaching safeties OR outside linebackers and vipers.
Like Gattis, Campanile is young (36, Gattis is 34) and a former D-I player. Campanile was a Rutgers LB/S in the early aughts; since he was a coordinator at Don Bosco for a few years before moving up to Rutgers as a position coach. He coached DBs at BC the last three years, getting the co-DC title last year. BC was 27th, 10th, and 42th in passing S&P+ the last three years, and his recent track record is pretty good:
Noted for both his coaching ability and his prowess on the recruiting trail, Campanile has nurtured several pros in recent years. Los Angeles Rams safety John Johnson was selected in the third round of the 2017 draft after starting all 13 games at free safety for the Eagles. The following year Campanile's cornerback tandem of Isaac Yiadom (third round to the Denver Broncos) and Kamrin Moore (6th round to the New York Giants) made their way to the NFL. That run will continue this month when three more of his protégés are expected to be selected. Junior corner Hamp Cheevers declared early and joins senior safeties Will Harris and Lukas Denis as projected picks.
The guys coming out this year have spent much or all of their careers under Campanile—and since the guys before him were Don Brown recruits that seems like a fine fit. Last year 24/7 named him the DB coach of the year, FWIW.
[After THE JUMP: another battle in the WAR ON RUTGERS]
Michigan: Alabama co-offensive coordinator / wide receivers coach Josh Gattis will be named offensive coordinator at Michigan, people with direct knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic’s Chris Vannini and Bruce Feldman. Gattis spent one year at Alabama and previously worked at Penn State. At Alabama, Gattis directed one of the top wide receiver groups in college football.
Gattis is a 34-year-old who played safety at Wake Forest and had a cup of coffee in the NFL after being drafted in the fifth round. Before Alabama hired him away to be the WR coach and co-offensive coordinator—whatever that means—he'd been James Franklin's WR coach at both Vandy and PSU. Mike Locksley, the other co-OC, took the Maryland job and was apparently set to bring Gattis along before this abrupt about-face.
[After THE JUMP: I'm just warning you there is a picture of Allen Robinson but now we can feel good about it!]
Al Washington, who served as Michigan's linebackers coach in 2018, is joining Ryan Day's staff as the Buckeyes' linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator.
This one makes more sense than Day hiring a 70-year-old Greg Mattison to be a defensive coordinator. Washington recruited well during his single year in Ann Arbor.
Michigan now has two open spots for defensive position coaches. Jim McElwain already left to be CMU's head coach and was replaced by Ben McDaniels. Temple's head job is open again after Manny Diaz left for Miami just days after taking it, and Don Brown is the last guy standing amongst the three candidates previously mentioned. It does seem like Temple's moving on from Brown, with "in person interviews" with new candidates scheduled this week and NIU head coach Rod Carey emerging as a new name.
So Michigan just hired Jim McElwain to coach football in some capacity. That capacity is apparently offensive coordinator and WR coach. This doesn't make much sense to me. McElwain becomes Michigan's fourth offensive coordinator, more or less, along with Harbaugh, Drevno, and Hamilton. He may be second amongst equals, for whatever that's worth.
McElwain was a notoriously bad recruiter at Florida, failing to crack the top ten once during his tenure and finishing no better than fifth in the SEC, and that was with a steady stream of Questionable Dudes that came highly rated but had seen various other teams back off. Those questionable dudes saw their super powers combine into a credit card scam that got a tenth of the team suspended last year. If you were to go back and re-rank recruiting classes by removing confirmed knuckleheads, Florida would plummet towards the nether reaches of the SEC.
Whatever offensive aptitudes he seemed to demonstrate at Alabama and Colorado State evaporated in a haze of ineptitude in Florida. Spencer Hall:
Statistically, Jim McElwain turned 2017 Florida into 2017 Rutgers. There is no evidence McElwain or the offensive staff can develop a quarterback or build an offensive line or tell a wideout how to run a route. There’s actually less and less evidence the offense is even designed competently. The big highlight—maybe the only real morbid but funny highlight, really—of watching Gary Danielson this season call a long string of SEC blowouts has been him literally correcting play design for Florida on the screen. He does this when not openly laughing at false starts and procedural penalties. It’s a full to-do list when watching Florida football, and just getting through half of it should earn him an Emmy.
Watch Florida left tackle Martez Ivey start yelling at the left guard on the Furbush touchdown before the play is even over:
You! Come over here! I know you're in the middle of a football play, but look upon the destruction your incompetence has wrought! Feel in your very bones the touchdown you have given up and shall never recover from! Eat at Arby's!
Also here is Florida's quarterback getting hammered on a rollout that Michigan rushed three on.
That's some dystopian business right there, and we should slow our roll a little given the evident dysfunction of the opponent. How much? I don't know.
McElwain doing well at Alabama proves little; having a decent offense at Colorado State because five-star Dee Hart needed a landing spot and rushed for 6.6 YPC doesn't prove a whole lot more. What success Florida did have under McElwain was an artifact of a trash SEC East and a defense he inherited from Will Muschamp.
On the positive side, McElwain does have a lengthy tenure as a collegiate WR coach stretching from 1987 to 2005, with the odd QB or special teams duty thrown in. And he probably has some great stories about John L Smith, who he coached under for five years at Louisville and Michigan State.
The best thing about this hire is that it doesn't really matter since it's Harbaugh's offense anyway. While McElwain comes in with a very Greg Robinson track record—aging successes and recent debacles paired with press interactions that make him seem slightly insane—he's not going to be put in charge of half the team and subsequently told to run something he's completely unfamiliar with. But neither is he likely to move the needle in recruiting or help organize the team. He'll seem like a brilliant WR coach because Michigan's WRs are about to get a lot better by virtue of not being freshmen, in the same way Ron English was a god until he wasn't.
Maybe once released from the prison of being a head coach he's actually a good offensive coordinator—but Michigan doesn't need tactical help. They need someone who can throw a ball straight and an offensive line that doesn't get that guy and his backup murdered. They do need a skill position coach and McElwain sort of fits there. He seems more like a duplicate of a duplicate, and he is very hard to take seriously after his year of baffling press conferences and Keystone Kops coaching.
He's a tenth assistant, and therefore more of a missed opportunity than a burgeoning disaster. And since every other thing with a track record immediately defies it when it arrives to do Michigan football things (except Don Brown, God bless Don Brown), maybe he'll be brilliant.
Moore was also CMU’s assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator last year. He’s young, like young enough that he’s in the recruiting databases as a player (he played offensive guard for Oklahoma from 2006-’07). Moore was a grad assistant with Louisville, where he got his master’s degree and first two years of TE coaching in, then joined Dan Enos at CMU in 2013.
CMU’s athletic department posted a mic’d up video of him last spring if you can glean things from clips of a guy coaching:
For those not keeping an assistant coach scorecard on them, here’s the offseason so far:
OUT: Greg Frey (OTs/TEs), Brian Smith (safeties)
IN: Dan Enos (OC), Al Washington (DL/LB), Sherrone Moore (TEs)
The “IN” guys have their previous positions given because jobs haven’t been handed out yet. With the 10th assistant position everyone gets this year Michigan could be done after some shuffling, though Pep/Enos/Drevno would be a lot of OCs for one kitchen.
For what is as of yet unknown. Rumors that Pep Hamilton and/or Tim Drevno are on their way out seem likely to come to fruition as a result of this, since Enos is another offensive architect type and not a recruiting-maven/position-coach sort.
Enos is a former MSU quarteback who entered coaching immediately after his playing career ended; since 1991 he's been a college coach. After bouncing around small schools for a decade he landed at Cincinnati as Mark Dantonio's QB coach and followed him to MSU for four years; he landed the head job at CMU in 2010. That didn't go that well—a couple of 3-9 seasons to start followed by .500 ball after—but he was something of a trendsetter in college football when he voluntarily left the CMU job to go be a P5 coordinator, joining Arkansas as OC in 2015.
His tenure through the lens of S&P+:
That's better than I expected in the SEC West; Bielema would probably still have a job if his defense hadn't cratered to the 113th this year.
Enos is a college guy whose most prominent stints as an assistant were at mashing pro-style programs, and he had good results despite working at a substantial talent disadvantage. College-lifer pro-style coaches are an endangered species, and while Enos doesn't have a Don Brown resume he's probably the best available coach who's at all a fit for what Michigan wants to do.
It's not exactly his fault that he walked into a Harbaugh team after years of basketball on grass and the transition didn't go particularly well, but hoo boy did it not go well at all. Michigan's ground game improved midseason when it more or less abandoned everything slightly reminiscent of Frey's approach and inserted mauler Juwann Bushell-Beatty at right tackle.
Meanwhile his impact on Michigan's pass protection was either negligible or terrible, since those are the only two options. If he was brought in mostly to be Michigan's Kevin Wilson insider, that might have worked out okay, but with that knowledge downloaded and the offense seemingly uninfluenced by him there wasn't a compelling reason to keep him around. For Frey's part, he doesn't have to be the other OL coach and can return to his alma mater under Willie Taggart.
Former Michigan OL and Arkansas OL coach Kurt Anderson has been rumored as a potential replacement. His resume is pretty thin, with a couple of grad assistant years at Michigan during the dying days of the Carr regime followed by four years as the OL coach at EMU—the ultimate knife-at-a-gun-fight situation— and three years as the assistant OL coach with the Bills before he landed at Arkansas in 2016.
There he coached PFF fave-rave Frank Ragnow, by their estimation the best C in the country for two years running, and coulda-shoulda-been Michigan Wolverine Hjalte Froholdt, who moved from the DL and developed into an elite-level OG:
This isn't quite official yet but Sam Webb says Cincinnati DL coach Al Washington is telling Cincinnati recruits that he's leaving, Brandon Justice tweeted about it, and Chris Vannini is confirming Justice's report, so it seems good enough for bloggin' work.
So: Washington was a three-year starter on the DL at Boston College from 2004 to 2006 and then went into coaching. He's been a DL coach for the duration of his career with the exception of one year as a LB coach at Elon and a stint from 2013 to 2015 when he was BC's running backs coach; BC RB Andre Williams won the Doak Walker and was a fourth-round pick in 2013. FWIW, he also gained "special teams coordinator" titles at his last two stops.
There's conflicting information about where Washington will end up; Justice reports that he'll be the RB spot but there's other chatter that he'll slot in at linebackers as Partridge moves to safeties. If it is RB that's a bit odd since this is more of a Don Brown hookup than a Harbaugh one. OTOH, RB is a spot that's generally regarded as a recruiting-heavy one. Washington's young, has a good reputation...
Tough loss for Luke Fickell and Cincinnati if it comes to fruition, very good recruiter for the Bearcats. https://t.co/dSA29qQebK
This is... pretty bad. Al Washington is one of BC football’s most important coaches, in particular with his ability to sell the school and bring in some of the Eagles’ best recruits. And as @BearcatJournal pointed out, Washington was the DL coach for Harold Landry, who tallied 15 sacks and may be an NFL first round pick this season.
We'll see how the rest of the coaching staff changes shake out. Michigan has at least one more guy to add since a tenth coach has just become official, and probably a few more since there are rumors of a wholesale overhaul on the offensive side of the ball.
[Ed. A- David Nasternak, our hockey beat writer, did the heavy lifting in compiling this article and also helped author it.]
At some point today, Warde Manuel will sit down in his office overlooking Hoover Avenue and State Street, check his to-do list, and find an item at the top wholly unfamiliar to him as Michigan’s athletic director, a task that was also wholly unfamiliar to the seven men who previously sat behind his desk: hire a new men’s ice hockey head coach.
Most of the buzz on this site and around the local scene has been centered near Mel Pearson, Red Berenson’s longtime assistant turned Michigan Tech head coach. There is probably a good case for him (particularly if based on his teams’ Corsi over the past few seasons), and he might be a fine head coach and quality option, but there are also a couple of reasons to remain skeptical. We’re not saying that they cannot be ironed out or that he would not succeed as Michigan’s next head coach. We do think that there are other options out there to consider as well.
David talked to a handful of people and did a lot of digging. These are the upper-echelon alternatives that we think should at least be investigated. For the record, very established guys at programs that aren’t a step down from Michigan have not been included on this list, so you’re not going to find Don Lucia or Jerry York on here.
SUCCESSFUL COLLEGIATE COACHES
Norm Bazin, UMass Lowell
He’s only 46 years old and already has nine years of head-coaching experience and an additional 11 years experience as an assistant. Eight of his years as an assistant came at Colorado College; those years nearly killed him. Seriously. His incredible survival story is a must-read.
Three years as an assistant at UML
Eight years as an assistant at Colorado College
Three years head coach at Hamilton College
Six years head coach at UML
Over the course of his six years at UMass Lowell, he has: twice been named Hockey East Coach of the Year, won the Penrose award for Division I coach of the year, finished with a winning percentage >.600 each of the last seven years, won the regular season Hockey East title two of the last five seasons, won the Hockey East conference tournament three of the last six seasons (while making the final five consecutive seasons), made the NCAA tournament five of the last six years, won at least one game in the NCAA tournament each of those five times, and made the Frozen Four in 2012-13.
Unfortunately for Michigan, given all that he has been through and that he is coaching at his alma mater, he may be happy at UML. Regardless, he should be first on the list. He might be the list. And he’s young, too. Give him what he wants.
[After THE JUMP: other current collegiate head coaches, guys with Michigan connections, and a couple wildcards]