ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is giving Sherrone Moore a shot, hoping he can sustain at least some of the success Jim Harbaugh had toward the end of his nine-season run with college football's winningest program.
"We're hungry for more,” Moore said Saturday after he was introduced as coach of the Wolverines.
“Jim talked effusively about Sherrone before the season, after the season and in our conversation on Wednesday, and really gave me the insight why he was our choice,” athletic director Warde Manuel said.
The move was made two days after Harbaugh bolted to lead the Los Angeles Chargers, getting a five-year deal that gives him another chance to chase a Super Bowl title.
Harbaugh told The Associated Press that Moore is a smart, hard-working teacher who makes a strong connection with players, staff members and families.
“The only person I would want to do the job,” Harbaugh wrote in a text message on Saturday. “I have 100% conviction that he will make us all very proud!!!"
Moore’s contract is for five years, with a starting annual salary of $5.5 million, guaranteed annual raises and several bonuses for accomplishments such as conference championships ($500,000), College Football Playoff appearances ($200,000) and national championships ($1 million).
Moore is a first-time head coach — at least formally.
Michigan went 4-0, including wins over Ohio State and Penn State, while Moore was filling in for Harbaugh as he served two separate suspensions for potential NCAA rules violations during the 2023 season.
“I have no doubt he will successfully transition from OC to HC — he had that opportunity 4 times this year, especially PSU, Maryland and OSU,” Harbaugh wrote in a text. “Proof is in the pudding.”
Moore becomes the first Black head coach in the history of Michigan football.
“It's time,” said longtime Wolverines assistant coach and staffer Fred Jackson, who is Black.
Moore, who is from Kansas, said he hopes to become an inspiration.
“If you work your tail off, dreams can come true,” he said.
Moore also served a one-game suspension during the 2023 season related to a recruiting infractions NCAA case. The NCAA’s investigation into allegations of sign-stealing and in-person scouting — which resulted in the late-season three-game suspension of Harbaugh by the Big Ten — has yet to be resolved.
Harbaugh denied involvement in the sign-stealing scheme, and there has been no evidence made public to show Moore, who became Michigan’s primary play-caller this season, was involved.
Michigan will have a new quarterback next season because J.J. McCarthy entered the NFL draft.
Players lobbied privately with Manuel and publicly on social media for Moore to get the job.
“I love it,” said Edwards, one of the many current players to attend the news conference. “If anybody deserves it, it’s him.”
Moore joined Harbaugh’s staff in 2018 as tight ends coach on the recommendation of Dan Enos, who spent about six weeks after the 2017 season as a member of Harbaugh’s staff before leaving to be an Alabama assistant.
Moore was promoted to offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator in 2021, when the Wolverines bounced back from a 2-4, pandemic-shortened season and began a three-year run of excellence that culminated in the school’s first national title in 26 years.
He has been regarded as a rising star in recent years.
The former Oklahoma offensive lineman started his coaching career in 2009 as a graduate assistant at Louisville, where he was later promoted to coach tight ends. He left Louisville to lead Central Michigan’s tight ends in 2014, and Harbaugh hired him in 2018 to coach at the same position.
Moore said it was humbling to know that Harbaugh and players made it clear he was their choice.
“I’m going to continue to work as hard as I can,” he said. "I’ve always gone by the philosophy, work like a GA. I always want to keep that mindset even as the head coach.”
While stretching with the Sooners entering his senior season, Moore watched as coaches communicated with players, whose lives were shaped by those leaders, and saw his future in the profession.
“The impact they had on us, I wanted to have on people,” he recalled. “That was the moment it clicked.”
Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter/larrylage
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football