Michigan announces Steve Clinkscale: particulars, function, comments from Jim Harbaugh

The day after reports surfaced that Michigan was ready to hire a new employee, the hiring became official.

On Wednesday the Wolverines football program officially announced the addition of Steve Clinkscale as defensive coach and passing game coordinator to fill the position of the late Maurice “Mo” linguist.

The move was reported as close to graduation Tuesday afternoon and brought the 41-year-old Kentucky assistant to Ann Arbor to round out Jim Harbaugh’s coaching staff for the 2021 season.

In a statement, Harbaugh named Clinkscale “a highly respected and talented football coach” and extolled his history of developing college-level defenders.

“I’ve followed and admired Steve’s coaching for years, tried a few times to hire him, and I’m glad it all came together where we could bring Steve to Michigan,” said Harbaugh. “He will be a great addition to our coaching team and our student athletes will benefit from Steve’s experience and guidance.”

Clinkscale has spent the past five seasons at the University of Kentucky, known for its aggressive, playful secondary school. The Wildcats have finished the last three seasons in the top third of the Southeastern Conference as pass defenders, while they have recorded 57 interceptions since 2016, Clinkscale’s first season in Lexington.

Last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic-ridden football season, Kentucky’s high school had 16 interceptions, good for third place nationally. He was recently promoted to defensive passing coordinator for the 2021 season.

The terms of the contract between Michigan and Clinkscale have not yet been announced, but it is believed to be a multi-year agreement.

“Coach Harbaugh and I have built a relationship over the years and this will be a great opportunity to work together,” Clinkscale said in a statement. “I look forward to meeting our players and working with them to develop their skills on and off the field. I want to continue the tradition of excellence here in Michigan and I look forward to helping improve the lives of these young men. “

Prior to his tenure in Kentucky, Clinkscale held positions in Cincinnati (2013-15), where he was defensive coordinator and defensive coach. Illinois (2012) and Toledo (2009-11), where he served as cornerback coach and special team coordinator.

Clinkscale is from Youngstown, Ohio. He was a starter and team captain at Division II Ashland University for four years. He brings knowledge and recruiting skills from Southeast Michigan, Ohio, and the Middle South and adds to the program’s recent momentum.

Linguist, the late assistant coach, took up the job as head coach at Buffalo University last Friday and ended his tenure in Michigan less than four months after being hired.

Clinkscale joins an already overworked coaching staff in Michigan, especially on the defensive. Harbaugh hired First Year Coordinator Mike Macdonald in January along with new linebacker coach George Helow and Ron Bellamy, former West Bloomfield High School coach to take over security.

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