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Michigan football hires former star Mike Hart as new running backs coach

Hart is Michigan’s all-time leading rusher

Mike Hart #20 of the Michigan Wolverines rushes with the football against the Florida Gators in the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2008 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
Mike Hart #20 of the Michigan Wolverines rushes with the football against the Florida Gators in the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2008 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. (2008 Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Former Michigan football star running back Mike Hart is returning to the program to coach his old position.

“Michigan has always held a special place in my heart,” Hart said. “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.”

Hart played for the Wolverines from 2004-2007, rushing for 5,040 yards and 41 touchdowns on 1,015 attempts. He is the program’s all-time leader in career rushing attempts, rushing yards and 100-yard games. He also ranks fourth in career rushing touchdowns.

Hart, 34, spent the last four seasons as the running backs coach at Indiana, and served as Tom Allen’s associate head coach in 2020.

“I am excited about the addition of Mike Hart to our offensive coaching staff,” Harbaugh said. “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. We look forward to welcoming Mike, Monique and their children to the Michigan Football family.”

He was named a top 25 recruiter by Rivals.com in 2019 and a nominee for the 2018 Broyles Award, according to Indiana’s athletics website.

In his nine seasons as a coach four players have rushed for 1,000 yards under Hart, including two MAC Freshman of the Year winners and the 2014 MAC Offensive Player of the Year, Jarvion Franklin.

Indiana gained 1,888 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns under Hart’s tutelage in 2018 and followed that with 1,695 yards and 24 scores in 2019. The Hoosiers had 869 yards and 12 touchdowns during the shortened 2020 season.

After graduating from Michigan, Hart spent three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, who drafted him in the sixth round. He played in 21 career NFL games, rushing 71 times for 264 yards.

Mike Hart #20 of the Michigan Wolverines talks with a reporter after the win against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium November 3, 2007 in East Lansing, Michigan.  Michigan defeated Michigan State 28-24.
Mike Hart #20 of the Michigan Wolverines talks with a reporter after the win against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium November 3, 2007 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan defeated Michigan State 28-24. (2007 Getty Images)

Hart inherits a loaded Michigan running back room that, barring attrition, includes starter Hassan Haskins and three former elite recruits in Zach Charbonnet, Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards.

Haskins rushed for 375 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per attempt this season.

Charbonnet missed some time and finished the season with just 19 carries. As a true freshman in 2019, he gained 726 yards and scored 11 touchdowns without being at full health.

Corum was a true freshman this season and got regular snaps, ultimately rushing 26 times for 77 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 73 yards.

Edwards is a top 50 recruit in the 2021 class and one of the most coveted running backs in the nation. He chose Michigan out of West Bloomfield High School and figures to be a candidate for early playing time.

Hart is the first assistant coaching hire to be officially announced since Harbaugh agreed to his four-year contract extension through the 2025 season.

The Wolverines are coming off a difficult 2-4 season that was cut short by three straight COVID-19 cancellations.


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