University of Michigan football’s first female graduate assistant talks shop

How Mimi Bolden-Morris impressed coach Jim Harbaugh

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan made history earlier this summer by hiring the first female graduate assistant on a Power Five college football staff.

Mimi Bolden-Morris was always a sports fanatic. Growing up in Florida, her dad, Mike, was a high school football coach.

“We would go every Friday (to his games) as a little kid on,“ Bolden-Morris said. “I loved it. I would throw the football with the guys. Being my dad’s water girl for all the years, he coached my brother, and high school sparked my love for it.”

Her brother Michael is now a senior defensive end with the Wolverines. He remembers his little sister back then.

“She wanted to be the first female QB in NFL history,” he said.

Bolden-Morris ultimately gravitated toward softball and later basketball. She would play college ball at Boston College, transferring to Georgetown to lead the team in minutes and points per game as a graduate student. But football was always on her mind. So, she assisted the Hoya football team.

“I would do recruiting and film stuff,” Bolden-Morris said. “They had morning practices before we did, so I would go out there and help with practice.”

That led to an idea: could she turn this into a job? Bolden-Morris reached out to anyone and everyone.

“I was emailing and reaching out to coaches in the ACC saying, ‘hey do you have a GA spot or an intern spot?’” Bolden-Morris said. “I wanted to get my foot in the door. Even if it was coming in and not getting paid. A lot of them said ‘no, we have GAs.’”

That’s when her mom stepped in and asked Coach Jim Harbaugh.

“My mom asked Coach Harbaugh, and he said, ‘absolutely, she can go intern,’” Bolden-Morris said.

Then, a graduate assistant job opened up. Bolden-Morris interviewed like everyone else, and impressed Coach Harbaugh with her approach to the game.

“I think what I’ve learned so far about Coach Harbaugh is he loves transparency and loyalty,” Bolden-Morris said. “I am a genuine person. He liked the way I approached the game so differently from a basketball perspective.”

Now that it is official, Bolden-Morris and Michigan have made history. She is the first female graduate assistant on a football staff in the Power Five.

When Bolden-Morris was hired, Coach Harbaugh released a statement that reads in part:

“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.”

Bolden-Morris has been working with the quarterbacks and impressing those in Ann Arbor.

“I asked the coaches about her; I asked the players,” Michael Morris said. “The players have high praise for her, JJ and Cade, and coaches have very high praises for her.”

Mimi knows she is now someone little girls are looking up to, and she takes that role very seriously.

“I take this opportunity as anything,” Bolden-Morris said. “I don’t get too high, not too low. I want to be on my A-game to help create opportunities for other women.”

Female coaches in the NFL have reached out to Bolden-Morris to congratulate her and give her some advice. Also, Bolden-Morris has been getting messages from women asking her for advice to follow in her footsteps, and she said she always responds and tries to help.

About the Author:

Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.