Michigan football hires first female graduate assistant coach in Power 5 history

‘I know my purpose is greater and I can use this blessing to assist others’

Milan Bolden-Morris avoids a steal attempt by Providence's Kyra Spiwak during an NCAA women's basketball game on Nov. 17, 2019 in Providence, R.I. (Stew Milne, The Associated Press 2019)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan made history Tuesday (March 15), hiring Milan Bolden-Morris as the first female graduate assistant coach in Power 5 FBS history.

Bolden-Morris is also the first female graduate assistant to coach at a Big Ten school.

Head football coach Jim Harbaugh announced Tuesday that Bolden-Morris would be working with the team’s quarterbacks.

For her graduate studies, Bolden-Morris is considering the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and/or the School of Social Work. Both programs are rated among the top five in the nation.

If her name rings a bell to the Wolverine faithful, that is because Bolden-Morris is the sister of Michigan defensive end Mike Morris, so athletics runs in the family.

Northwestern quarterback Ryan Hilinski is sacked by Michigan defensive ends Mike Morris (90) and Aidan Hutchinson during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Bolden-Morris played collegiate basketball for the Georgetown Hoyas and the Boston College Eagles. During the 2021-22 season, she led the Hoyas in scoring and minutes, and she also led the Big East in three-pointers made, with 83.

The lady Hoya will transition to U of M on June 1 after she graduates in May, earning her master’s degree in sports management.

Harbaugh said Bolden-Morris expressed interest in becoming a graduate assistant, which sparked the conversation. He believes she could bring a new perspective to the program.

“I have always believed in providing opportunities for individuals who are passionate about football, and Mimi is someone who has shown that drive to become a football coach,” Harbaugh said. “Mimi reached out and expressed an interest in our graduate assistant positions when we had multiple openings this spring. We had some great conversations, and I came away extremely impressed with her desire and ideas for coaching and for making us better as a team.

“Mimi is a very bright, intelligent, and competitive young woman who will be a great addition to our program and offensive coaching staff. We look forward to having Mimi transition into this role working with our quarterbacks. We can’t wait to see the new perspective she brings to our team.”

The opportunity speaks volumes for Bolden-Morris, who not only will be the first female GA but the first woman of color to achieve such an honor.

“The opportunity to be the first female GA in the Power 5, especially the Big Ten, is an absolute honor,” Bolden-Morris said. “It speaks volumes to the efforts that coach Harbaugh has made to create an environment of inclusion. These opportunities have been an anomaly for a Black woman until recently. Growing up watching my dad coach my brother, it has always been my dream to be a part of a football team in some form, so this opportunity is allowing me to live out a dream of mine, especially working with quarterbacks.

“Coming from the basketball world, guards and quarterbacks are one in the same. Both have the ability to make decisions under duress, read defenses, take care of the ball, and execute with precision and accuracy. I know that coach Harbaugh and his staff will prepare me with the tools and knowledge to be the best, because that’s who they are and all they know. They bleed blue. Having the ability to work in such a prestigious and winning environment will mold me to create other opportunities for women who are seeking a similar career path. I may be the first woman to do this at this level, but I know my purpose is greater and that I can use this blessing to assist others.”

About the Author:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.