A closer look at the new Michigan coaching staff, from contracts to recruiting connections (2024)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Derrick Moore had to stop and think for a moment as he recalled the revolving door of position coaches who have passed through Michigan’s defensive meeting rooms since the season ended.

Mike Elston, Michigan’s defensive line coach the past two seasons, left to join head coach Jim Harbaugh with the Los Angeles Chargers in February. Greg Scruggs had the job for a few weeks before resigning after his arrest on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Lou Esposito, Scruggs’ replacement, arrived midway through spring practice and immediately got to work.

“It’s been a crazy couple months,” said Moore, a junior edge rusher. “Coach Scruggs was here. He was a great coach, a great guy. Just being with him the couple days I had him here, he taught me a lot. Then we had our new coach. He’s also a great guy.”

Welcome to Ann Arbor, Lou! #GoBlue | https://t.co/5CYS0COoxI pic.twitter.com/kmPDkCI4Zd

— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) March 29, 2024

The identity of Michigan’s coaching staff is still taking shape under first-year coach Sherrone Moore, both on the sidelines and in recruiting. The Wolverines landed their first commitment of the spring last week, four-star edge rusher Nate Marshall, and have a busy stretch ahead to fill out their 2025 recruiting class. Here’s a rundown of Michigan’s assistant coaches and their recruiting profiles.


Wink Martindale

Title: Defensive coordinator
Contract: Three years, $2.3 million in 2024

Based on publicly available information, LSU’s Blake Baker is the only defensive coordinator in college football who will earn more than Martindale in 2024. Baker is slated to earn $2.5 million in each year of a three-year deal. Martindale’s deal has the same total value, $7.5 million, but starts at $2.3 million and climbs to $2.7 million by 2026.

It’s hard to get the full effect from a spring game, but Martindale’s defense should be menacing. He has NFL-ready players in Will Johnson, Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant and lots of options to generate pressure on the quarterback, a calling card of his career as a DC.

As a recruiter, well, who knows? Martindale last coached in college football in 2003, so it’s unlikely he’ll be leading the charge in recruiting. Michigan will need to reload on defense sometime soon, but as a play caller, Martindale should be able to get the most out of the players already in the program.

“You can see there’s a lot of talent walking around here on campus,” Martindale said. “I’m not worried about our talent.”

Kirk Campbell

Title: Offensive coordinator
Contract: Three years, $950,000 in 2024

Campbell was 24 when he got his first job as a play caller at Alderson Broaddus, a start-up program at the Division II level. He also had a short stint calling plays at Old Dominion before joining Michigan’s staff as an analyst and working his way up to OC.

“That experience has taught me so much,” Campbell said. “You throw an infant into a pool and they learn how to swim, right? That’s what I was doing. I was just trying to tread water.”

The metaphor is a little intense, but the point stands: Coming up through the D-II ranks gave Campbell a chance to call plays a lot earlier than most coaches. He has J.J. McCarthy’s stamp of approval, and last year’s offensive coordinator will be right down the hall in the head coach’s office. It doesn’t appear a lot is going to change with Campbell calling the shots.


As a recruiter, Campbell closed the deal with freshman Jadyn Davis, Michigan’s top quarterback target in the 2024 cycle. Michigan wasn’t able to secure a commitment from five-star quarterback Bryce Underwood for 2025 but pivoted quickly and landed four-star quarterback Carter Smith from Florida. Quarterback figures to be the position most affected in recruiting now that Harbaugh is gone.

Tony Alford

Title: Running backs coach/run game coordinator
Contract: Three years, $850,000 per year

The shake-up in the world of running backs coaches was one of the juiciest subplots of the offseason. Mike Hart was out at Michigan. Alford was ready for a change at Ohio State. Now Alford is in Ann Arbor, and Carlos Locklyn left Oregon to coach running backs for the Buckeyes.

In his first comments at Michigan, Alford sounded like a coach who’s motivated to show he’s still at the top of his game. One way to do that is by hitting Ohio State where it hurts: in the state of Ohio, where Alford has deep connections with high school coaches.

“Those relationships have not been severed,” Alford said. “Recruiting is recruiting. Again, it’s about relationships. There’s some great, great high school football in that state and some phenomenal coaches in that state.”

Alford can start with Marquise Davis, a four-star running back and top-200 prospect in the Class of 2025 from Cleveland Heights who’s been on Michigan’s campus several times this spring. Davis runs hard at 6 feet and 210 pounds and has the toughness Alford desires. Alford also has Michigan in the mix for Savion Hiter, one of the top running backs in the Class of 2026.

Brian Jean-Mary

Title: Linebackers coach/defensive run game coordinator
Contract: Three years, $900,000 in 2024

Jean-Mary is back for his second stint at Michigan after three years at Tennessee. His lone year at Michigan in 2020 wasn’t especially memorable, though he made a lasting contribution by recruiting Junior Colson, a top-100 prospect from Tennessee who became one of the best inside linebackers in college football. Colson, a third-round pick of the Chargers, is exactly the type of player Michigan will need to keep its defense at an elite level.


Jean-Mary has connections throughout the Southeast from his stints at Louisville, Texas, Tennessee and South Florida. Getting Miami commit Elijah Melendez, a top-150 prospect from Kissimmee, Fla., on campus in April was a sign those connections are already paying off.

Grant Newsome

Title: Offensive line coach
Contract: Two years, $600,000 in 2024

Newsome’s coaching career is on the fast track. In four years, he’s gone from graduate assistant to tight ends coach to offensive line coach, all before his 27th birthday. It says a lot that Moore trusted him to coach the offensive line, a position that has been at the heart of Michigan’s success. He’ll be tested right away, as Michigan is breaking in five new starters and replacing one of the most experienced offensive lines in college football.

Michigan signed a deep offensive line class in 2024 to replace a big group of departing seniors. The first piece of the 2025 class could fall into place Friday when Avery Gach, a four-star offensive tackle from Franklin, Mich., announces from a final group of Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Lou Esposito

Title: Defensive line coach
Contract: Two years, $500,000 per year

As defensive coordinator at Western Michigan, Esposito recruited and developed edge rusher Marshawn Kneeland, a two-star prospect who was drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys. Esposito also recruited defensive tackle Braden Fiske, an overlooked recruit from Michigan City, Ind., who played his final season at Florida State and was drafted with the 39th pick by the Los Angeles Rams.

“One thing I’ll tell you about both those guys: They were severely under-recruited,” Esposito said. “We were their only offers. Meeting the kid, working the kid out, meeting the family, seeing their work ethic, all those things happen. The work ethic, to me, is the No. 1 thing you’ve got to have. If they’re willing to do it, you can make them special.”


Esposito can recruit elite players at Michigan, as he showed by landing a commitment from Marshall, the No. 35 player in the 247Sports Composite. Marshall is from the Chicago area, a hotbed for Michigan and a region Esposito recruited during his time at Western Michigan. The formula is for Michigan to win enough competitive recruiting battles, particularly in the Midwest, and mix in developmental success stories. Esposito should be able to do both.

Ron Bellamy

Title: Wide receivers coach
Contract: Two years, $600,000 in 2024

Bellamy, now in his fourth season, is the longest-tenured assistant coach on Michigan’s staff. As the former coach at West Bloomfield, he has helped the Wolverines shore up relationships in their home state and land a steady supply of homegrown players. Looking at the current depth chart, the 2025 cycle will be an important one for Bellamy and Michigan’s long-term picture at wide receiver.

In terms of experienced wide receivers, Michigan has Semaj Morgan, Tyler Morris and … well, that’s the list. Michigan has been hit by attrition in its recent wide receiver classes, including the departure of Karmello English, Michigan’s top wide receiver signee in 2023. That puts more of the load on sophom*ore Fredrick Moore and Channing Goodwin and I’Marion Stewart as incoming freshmen.

The transfer portal should be Michigan’s friend here.

LaMar Morgan

Title: Defensive backs coach
Contract: Two years, $675,000 in 2024

Morgan has three master’s degrees and four kids: Kroix, Kalais, Kross and Krue. He wears bow ties because he never learned to tie a regular knot. His primary coaching experience came at Vanderbilt, where he overlapped with former Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter in 2021, and Louisiana, where he was the defensive coordinator for the past two seasons. When he tries a new restaurant, he likes to order half the menu to see what’s good.


“I’m a foodie, so I got to a lot of food spots,” Morgan said. “I’ve been here since late February. I’ve probably been to 40, 50 places.”

Personality won’t be lacking with Morgan in charge of Michigan’s defensive backs. He’s another coach on Michigan’s staff who is leveling up, but he has all the traits to be an excellent recruiter. He can make a splash right away by landing Dawayne Galloway, a four-star cornerback and top-150 prospect from Columbus, Ohio, who is interested in Michigan.

Steve Casula

Title: Tight ends coach
Contract: Two years, $400,000 per year

Michigan has recruited tight ends as well as any team in the country over the past few years. As a result, the Wolverines have quite a bit of talent in the pipeline behind Colston Loveland, from Marlin Klein to Deakon Tonielli to freshman Brady Prieskorn and Hogan Hansen. They already have a tight end on board for 2025 in four-star prospect Eli Owens and made the final five for three-star tight end Hayden Bradley from Buford, Ga.

Casula was an analyst at Michigan from 2019 to 2021 and spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator for Don Brown at UMass. He and Esposito are working together for the third time in their careers after overlapping at Western Michigan from 2010 to 2012 and Davenport University from 2014 to 2016.

Esposito described Casula as a tireless recruiter with a near-photographic memory for recalling what a particular player did on a play, even after hours of watching film.

They’re also living under the same roof while Esposito looks for a place in Ann Arbor.

“I just told him I’m the best houseguest he’s ever had,” Esposito said.

J.B. Brown

Title: Special teams coordinator
Contract: Two years, $350,000

Jay Harbaugh coached running backs, tight ends and safeties while also overseeing one of the top special teams units in the FBS for the past five years. Now Brown has special teams all to himself after assisting that unit as an analyst for the past three years. If there’s one thing to second guess with Michigan’s staff construction, it’s having a dedicated special teams coordinator and only four defensive assistants, including a DC who’s been in the NFL for the past two decades. Michigan could have hired a coach with a longer recruiting resume, but if Brown keeps Michigan’s special teams at the top of the FBS, this will be a solid hire.

(Photo of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale: Aaron J. Thornton / Getty Images)

A closer look at the new Michigan coaching staff, from contracts to recruiting connections (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Virgilio Hermann JD

Last Updated:

Views: 6097

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Virgilio Hermann JD

Birthday: 1997-12-21

Address: 6946 Schoen Cove, Sipesshire, MO 55944

Phone: +3763365785260

Job: Accounting Engineer

Hobby: Web surfing, Rafting, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Ghost hunting, Swimming, Amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Virgilio Hermann JD, I am a fine, gifted, beautiful, encouraging, kind, talented, zealous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.