May 30, 2024

Michigan football has fired linebackers coach Chris Partridge, the program announced in a statement Friday morning. Rick Minter, father of defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and a former head coach at Cincinnati, will take over the position group.

“Effective today, Chris Partridge has been relieved of his duties as a member of the Michigan Football staff,” team spokesman Dave Ablauf said in a release. “Rick Minter will serve as the team’s linebackers coach.”

Partridge, who was making $500,000 this season, is the second staffer to leave his position in the past few weeks, after recruiting analyst Connor Stalions resigned Nov. 3 following evidence he ran an illegal sign-stealing scheme. The NCAA’s investigation is ongoing.

Yahoo Sports reported Friday that Partridge “allegedly participated in the destruction of evidence on a computer after the scandal broke,” though he is not alleged to have known about Stalions’ advanced scouting.

TRENDING:Michigan booster ‘Uncle T’ helped fund Connor Stalions’ sign-stealing scheme

Partridge’s firing announcement came at 11:20 a.m. Just more than 30 minutes later, the Free Press sent a message to a U-M spokesman asking if a statement was coming from coach Jim Harbaugh. The spokesman responded “the statement you have is what is being issued by the university.” At 12:10 p.m., the university added another comment.

“From the outset, our focus has been on seeking due process and allowing the NCAA to conduct a fair and deliberate investigation,” associate athletic director Kurt Svoboda said in a message. “Although the Big Ten has closed its investigation, we are continuing to cooperate with the NCAA as it moves forward with its ongoing investigation. Consistent with our commitment to integrity, we will continue to take the appropriate actions, including disciplinary measures, based on information we obtain.

“Earlier today, Michigan Athletics relieved Chris Partridge of his duties as a member of the Michigan Football staff. Due to employee privacy laws, we are unable to comment further.”

SHAWN WINDSOR:Michigan accepting Jim Harbaugh’s suspension leaves more questions than answers

Partridge was in his fifth season as a member of U-M’s coaching staff; he was brought back Feb. 8 to begin his second tenure with the Wolverines when he was hired to be an analyst. Shortly after, U-M parted ways with then-linebackers coach George Helow and moved Partridge to the position.

Partridge previously served as the team’s special teams coordinator for four seasons (2016-19), before he became defensive coordinator at Ole Miss for three seasons (2020-22).

Earlier this year, Partridge described Harbaugh having developed what he called an “A-plus culture.”

“When I was here the first time, it was kind of just still developing,” Partridge said in August. “We weren’t there yet. Jim’s culture was developing in who he is, and now it embodies who he is.”

During his first stint with Michigan, Partridge (2015-19) was named national recruiter of the year by Scout.com in 2016 and by 247 Sports in 2017. The former Paramus Wolverines Catholic head coach helped U-M recruit players such as Rashan Gary, Jabrill Peppers and Cesar Ruiz from that state.

“Chris has been a trusted agent, known friend and ally since we started working together in 2015,” Harbaugh said in February when Partridge’s return to Ann Arbor was announced. “He is a phenomenal teacher and coach and will be a major asset to our team, program, and university community.”

Meanwhile, Harbaugh has been suspended for the final three games of the regular season as overseer of the program, in relation to the ongoing sign-stealing scandal. The university and Harbaugh on Thursday dropped their fight against the suspension and agreed to accept the ban, one day before a scheduled court hearing in Washtenaw County.

Harbaugh will travel with the team to Maryland, but cannot be within the stadium.

READ MORE:Jim Harbaugh has the chance to step up and teach us all a lesson while suspended

Rick Minter coached at Cincinnati for a decade (1994-2003) and has served as a defensive analyst for the Wolverines since 2022; he has now been promoted to fill one of the NCAA-allotted 10 assistant coaching roles.

Contact Tony Garcia: apgarcia@freepress.com. Follow him at @realtonygarcia.

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