Pep Hamilton no longer on Michigan football staff; Ben McDaniels named QB coach

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Pep Hamilton

Pep Hamilton, Michigan’s pass-game coordinator the last two seasons, is no longer part of the staff.

The Detroit News confirmed the news Tuesday that was first reported by Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider. Hamilton made $1 million base salary each of his two seasons.

Ben McDaniels, formerly an offensive analyst with the Wolverines, has been promoted to quarterbacks coach.

This movement clears what had been a foggy staff picture after Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh hired Josh Gattis as the offensive coordinator. Michigan did not have an official offensive coordinator last season. Harbaugh said early in the season that Hamilton was calling the majority of plays.

Before the Peach Bowl, Harbaugh said he wanted to elevate McDaniels to receivers coach to replace Jim McElwain, who coached receivers last season but left to become head coach at Central Michigan. Gattis has cut his teeth in coaching working with receivers and will assume that role while also being offensive coordinator.

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Gattis, 35, last month signed a three-year contract worth $900,000 annually. Harbaugh, on his podcast, said he is giving Gattis control of the offense. It is likely that Gattis plans to open the offense with quarterback Shea Patterson and a group of talented receivers including Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins and Tarik Black.

“I’ve really watched Josh long enough to know and we talked and have the same philosophy, really, offensively, which I like,” Harbaugh said during the podcast. “I like the idea of him running it. We have some very fine offensive coaches here, no question about that. They feel like, ‘Yeah, let’s go. This is the direction we’re going, so let’s go and make it great and make it work.’”

Hamilton received a $450,000 retention bonus last season on top of his $1 million salary. He also received a $150,000 signing bonus.

According to his contract, signed Jan. 9, 2017, he would have owed Michigan a $150,000 buyout if he left before Dec. 2, 2017. There was no other buyout language in the contract. Had Hamilton remained on staff beyond April 1, he would have been eligible for a $250,000 retention bonus. There was no bonus associated with his final year of the contract.

Harbaugh clearly wanted to move McDaniels to assistant coach. He coached the receivers for the Peach Bowl after McElwain took over at CMU.

“Ben has been an excellent addition to our football staff and we look forward to his elevated role as our quarterbacks coach this year,” Harbaugh said in a release. “Ben is a talented, experienced coach who brings great knowledge and enthusiasm to our offensive coaching staff and the quarterback room.”

McDaniels came to Ann Arbor after two seasons with the Chicago Bears, where he was an offensive assistant. He coached receivers in 2016 and tight ends in 2017.

A native of Canton, Ohio, McDaniels led Canton McKinley to a 37-3 record and two state championships in his three years as a starting quarterback. He went on to play quarterback at Kent State from 1999-2001, earning his bachelor's degree in sport management.

Twitter: @chengelis