There have been numerous names tossed around in the head coaching search for the Indiana football program, but there’s one that may be rising above the rest.
While a lot of the expectation was that Athletic Director Scott Dolson would be looking at bringing in someone with head coaching experience, one Big Ten assistant coach is gaining ground — and receiving praise nationally in major recruiting circles.
Michigan assistant and former Indiana football associate head coach and running backs coach Mike Hart has reportedly had an interview with Indiana to be its next head coach. Hart has numerous years of experience with stops at five different programs around the country, including in the ACC and Big Ten.
Hart, who was on staff at Indiana from 2017-20, already has a good relationship with numerous staffers around the Indiana program as well as the administration. Not only is he a well known name in the Big Ten, he is nationally.
He was also nominated for the Broyles Award in 2018, given to the top assistant coach in college football.
All of that is significant when it comes to recruiting and potentially building a pipeline and rebuilding a program.
And, one noteworthy national recruiting analyst says Hart ‘has all the traits’ to be a head coach.
“As I follow along with the Indiana coaching search, Jason Candle and Mike Hart are two that excite me the most,” 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong wrote. “Candle has a proven track record as a head coach and Hart has all the traits to be a great head coach.”
While Hart has never had a true head coaching gig, or even a coordinator role, he was also an acting head coach for one half last year against UNLV during a suspension for Jim Harbaugh.
“I think as long as you can lead people and you’re organized, you can be a head coach,” Hart said leading up to Michigan’s win over UNLV. “That’s what it comes down to: organization, leadership and belief. People have to believe in you. When you have those characteristics, anybody can be a head coach.”
There is no denying he has a spectacular resume, including the ability to work under one of the top coaches and recruiters in Harbaugh at Michigan.
“It’s been well documented that we have a very talented coaching staff and I believe that all 10 assistant coaches will be head coaches in the near future,” Harbaugh said earlier this season. “They are all capable of leading a team at an elite level.”
If Hart is the guy that Indiana goes with, it will definitely be someone worthy, just not proven at that level.
Indiana needs something and someone to rejuvenate the program after just a 3-24 record in Big Ten play in the past three seasons.
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