Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck has announced changes to his coaching staff for the 2023 season.
After spending last season as the Gophers’ tight ends coach, Greg Harbaugh (HAR-boe) is now co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. He joins Matt Simon in the co-offensive coordinator role, which Simon has held, along with wide receivers coach, since the 2020 campaign.
Both Harbaugh and Simon have significant history with Fleck as they have been on his staff for a combined 14 years and have had a relationship for a combined 17 years.
Harbaugh was a member of Fleck’s staff at Western Michigan from 2015-16 and was a member of Fleck’s Minnesota staff in 2017 (Quality Control), 2019 (Quality Control) and 2022 (Tight Ends). Simon has been a member of Fleck’s staff since 2014 when he was hired as the wide receivers coach at Western Michigan. Fleck was also Simon’s position coach at Northern Illinois for two seasons. With Fleck as his coach, Simon caught 76 passes for 1,346 yards and seven touchdowns.
Harbaugh, who played both quarterback and receiver at Averett University, coached Brevyn Spann-Ford in 2022 and the dynamic tight end led Minnesota with 42 catches and tallied 497 yards and two touchdowns. Spann-Ford had the most receptions by a Gopher since the 2019 season and became the first tight end to lead the team in receptions since Maxx Williams in 2014.
For his efforts, Spann-Ford was named honorable mention All-American and First-Team All-Big Ten by PFF, and was an honorable mention All-Big Ten honoree by the league’s coaches and media members.
Since Simon was elevated to his co-OC role in 2020, Minnesota has been one of the top rushing programs in the country, ranking 19th in the FBS in rush attempts (1,475), 24th in rushing touchdowns (79) and 36th in rushing yards (6,629).
This past season, junior wide receiver Daniel Jackson led Minnesota with 557 receiving yards and five touchdown catches on 37 receptions. It was the highest yardage total for Minnesota since 2019.
Simon has also mentored some of the greatest receivers to ever wear the Maroon and Gold. In 2019, Minnesota boasted one of the most dynamic receiving duos in the country in Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson. Bateman was named Big Ten Receiver of the Year and was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist. Johnson set program single-season records for catches, yards and touchdowns that same season. Both were named All-Big Ten First Team, as Minnesota became the first school ever to have both All-Big Ten First Team receivers.
Brian Callahan will remain in his role as run game coordinator/offensive line coach. He has played a vital role in game-planning and execution on game days. Under his tutelage, all five offensive lineman earned All-Big Ten recognition this past season, led by center John Michael Schmitz, who was a First-Team All-American.
(info courtesy of Gopher Sports)