The Wolverine

September 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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42 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2021 A fter being hired back at his alma mater ahead of the 2015 season, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said his job "exceeds being personal." Two of Harbaugh's newly minted as- sistants who also happen to be former U-M players — safeties coach Ron Bellamy and running backs mentor Mike Hart — feel the same way about their gigs. Bellamy has been reporting to Schembechler Hall — Michigan foot- ball's team headquarters — daily since January, but the former Wolver- ine wide receiver still gets chills every time he walks through the building. "I think about my freshman year, the first time walking into this build- ing from Louisiana," Bellamy said. "It means something. It's a special place." Hart said it's been "fun" to be back in Ann Arbor. "It's great to be back," he said. "Obviously, I love this place. I'm just excited to get going and I'm excited about camp." Bellamy, who joined the staff after being the head coach at West Bloom- field (Mich.) High for 11 years, kept a close eye on the program, being in the area and sending multiple players to play for the Maize and Blue. Some of Michigan's struggles over the last decade-plus — the Wolver- ines haven't won the Big Ten in 17 years — pained Bellamy to watch from just up the road, roughly 35 miles away. "There have been highs and lows and you're just kind of kicking your- self like, man, I wish I was there to help make a difference," Bellamy re- vealed. When Harbaugh gave him a call early in the offseason, Bellamy jumped at the opportunity to return and make that difference. He always felt it was 'when,' not 'if' he would return to the college game, and the moment felt right this time around. "During COVID, I had a lot of op- portunities to talk to head coaches. When you have some good players, you deal with a lot of head coaches at various universities," he said. "I remember [Alabama head coach] Nick Saban reached out to me and he asked, 'When are you going to make that transition from high school to college?' From there, my wife and I talked about it and prayed on it. "Coach Harbaugh reached out, along with a couple other college coaches, and we said, 'Now or never.' We're fortunate the opportunity pre- sented itself here." Hart had already been in college coaching, so he thought less about Michigan and more about whatever his current job was, following the guidance of his former head coach, Lloyd Carr. Prior to Hart's current post, he spent time at Eastern Michi- gan (2011-13), Western Michigan (2014-15), Syracuse (2016) and, most recently, Indiana (2018-20). "I just want to be the best I can be," Hart said. "I think when you get into the coaching world, there are a lot of Michigan coaches out there that   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Ron Bellamy, Mike Hart Settling Back In With The Wolverines First-year assistants Ron Bellamy (left) and Mike Hart (right) are both former Michigan players that won Big Ten championship rings during their time in Ann Arbor, and were brought home by head coach Jim Harbaugh this offseason. PHOTOS BY EJ HOLLAND

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