Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter said goodbye to the program after two years Tuesday, as he prepares to return to the NFL.
Minter, who helped Michigan to its first national title in 26 seasons as well as two Big Ten championships and CFP appearances, is reuniting with new Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh as the team’s defensive coordinator, it was announced Tuesday evening.
The Chargers on Tuesday were also finalizing a deal to hire Greg Roman as offensive coordinator, a source told ESPN, confirming an NFL Network report. The deal is expected to be announced as early as Wednesday.
Minter, 40, came to Michigan after a season as Vanderbilt’s defensive coordinator, which followed three years as a Baltimore Ravens assistant under Harbaugh’s brother, John. Minter announced his departure Tuesday on social media.
Minter in 2022 was named a finalist for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach. Michigan led the nation in fewest points allowed (13.1 PPG) in his two seasons as coordinator and ranked third nationally in yards per play allowed (4.47).
The son of longtime college coach Rick Minter, Jesse Minter first became a coordinator in 2011 at Indiana State and later held the role at Georgia State.
Harbaugh and Roman’s coaching relationship goes back over a decade, when Roman was an associate head coach on Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford for two seasons (2009-10). Roman followed Harbaugh to the NFL in 2011, when Harbaugh became head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
Under Roman, the 49ers ranked in the top five in the NFL in rushing yards per game for three straight seasons.
He was most recently the offensive coordinator for the Ravens from 2019 to 2022. In Baltimore, Roman built one of the most prolific rushing offenses in NFL history, sparking quarterback Lamar Jackson to win the second unanimous MVP award in NFL history in 2019. That same season, Roman won the AP Assistant of the Year award.
In general manager Joe Hortiz and Harbaugh’s introductory news conferences, there was an emphasis on fixing the Chargers’ putrid rushing attack, which hasn’t ranked in the top 10 in yards per game since 2007. Roman’s history shows that he could turn this group around, which the Chargers hope makes things easier for quarterback Justin Herbert and their passing offense.
“You build a great run game and a great offensive line, you protect your quarterback,” Hortiz said Tuesday. “I’ve seen it done year in and year out where I came from. You help him by supporting him with players that help the entire offense.”
The Chargers also are set to hire Michigan defensive line coach Mike Elston for the same role, a source told ESPN, confirming an NFL Network report. Elston spent the past two seasons with Jim Harbaugh and Minter after a lengthy run with Notre Dame.
Harbaugh, who coached Michigan for the past nine seasons, is bringing several key assistants from his alma mater to the Chargers, including strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert. Jay Harbaugh, the son of Jim Harbaugh, who worked at Michigan under his father since 2015, also has left the program for the NFL and is expected to be hired by the Seattle Seahawks as their special teams coordinator, a source told ESPN, confirming a report by Sports Illustrated.
Steve Clinkscale, Michigan’s defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator, is the only defensive assistant still at the school under new coach Sherrone Moore.