Michigan football hires Alabama's Josh Gattis as offensive coordinator

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Josh Gattis

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has hired Josh Gattis as offensive coordinator and assistant offensive coach, the school announced Thursday

Gattis, 34, was Alabama’s co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach last season.

“The offense and passing games under Josh’s direction have achieved at a very high level throughout his coaching career,” Harbaugh said in a release. “Josh will provide leadership to our offense while being a great mentor to our student-athletes and an outstanding addition to our coaching staff.”

It is unclear how this hiring affects Pep Hamilton, who has been with the staff as pass-game coordinator the last two years. Michigan did not have a designated offensive coordinator last season once Tim Drevno left the staff after the 2017 season.

Earlier in the day, there were reports Gattis was expected to join former Alabama co-offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, now the head coach at Maryland, as offensive coordinator.

“It is an honor and a privilege to join the University of Michigan football family under Coach Harbaugh, one of the most successful head coaches in all of football,” Gattis said. “I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to serve as your Offensive Coordinator. This is the leadership challenge I’ve coveted. The football tradition at the University of Michigan is among the very best in college athletics. My family and I couldn’t be more excited to arrive in Ann Arbor.”

Gattis, who is expected to call the plays at Michigan, and Locksley were co-offensive coordinators at Alabama, which lost to Clemson in the national title game earlier this week. The Tide offense finished third nationally in scoring (45.6 points per game) and sixth in total offense (522).

Jim McElwain was the receivers coach for the Wolverines this past season, but is now Central Michigan’s head coach. Harbaugh said before the Peach Bowl he anticipated Ben McDaniels would be promoted from offensive analyst to receivers coach.

Michigan reportedly has hired Alabama co-offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.

Gattis has coached receivers, and clearly at Alabama made them a pivotal part of the offensive attack. The Wolverines return a deep group of receivers, led by Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins and Tarik Black. Under Gattis, Alabama had five receivers with 40 or more catches this season and five players had 693 receiving yards or more — Jerry Jeudy led the team with 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns — and six or more touchdowns.

Gattis has coached in the Big Ten. He was on James Franklin’s staff at Penn State from 2014-2017 as receivers coach and pass-game coordinator. He also led the Nittany Lion’s offensive recruiting and helped the program sign four straight top-25 recruiting classes, including two top-15 classes. He was selected as the 2015 Big Ten Recruiter of the Year by Scout.com.

He also worked for Franklin at Vanderbilt (2012-2013), as well. He also was receivers coach at Western Michigan in 2011.

Gattis coached receivers at Western Michigan in 2011 season. He worked with Jordan White, a consensus All-American who led the NCAA in receptions with 140 for 1,911 yards during the 2011 season and broke numerous Mid-American Conference receiving marks.

During his college playing days, Gattis was a safety at Wake Forest, from which he graduated in 2006. He was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference safety in 2005 and 2006. Gattis was a fifth-round pick of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent part of the 2007 season with Jacksonville before moving on to play for the Chicago Bears during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.


Twitter: @chengelis