Biff Poggi, Michigan associate head coach, hired by Charlotte
Michigan football associate head coach Biff Poggi will join the Charlotte 49ers as head coach after this season, Charlotte announced Tuesday.
Poggi has been associate head coach at Michigan for two seasons. As detailed by The Athletic in November, Poggi played an integral role in Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines’ comeback 2021 season, which included a bid to the College Football Playoff. But the 62-year-old’s resume goes much deeper.
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Poggi was a superpower at the high school level. The Baltimore local led his alma mater Gilman High School to 13 state titles in 19 years. He left in 2016 to spend one year at Michigan before returning to the high school ranks as head coach at St. Frances Academy, a program he personally funded while coaching at Gilman. Poggi put St. Frances on the national recruiting map and produced products like Michigan running back Blake Corum. He also had one-year coaching stints at Brown, Temple and The Citadel early in his career.
“Joining the Charlotte 49ers is an incredible opportunity,” Poggi said in a release. “We can build a championship program at Charlotte, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Harbaugh and Nick Saban were also quoted in the release, voicing approval of the hire.
“Congratulations to Mike Hill and the Charlotte 49ers for a great hire. Biff Poggi will generate excitement and success for the program. The players will love playing for him and the coaches will love working with him. Get ready to win!” Saban’s statement said.
Charlotte fired former coach Will Healy on Oct. 23 after a four-game losing streak and 1-7 start to the 2022 season. He was 0-4 against Conference USA opponents this year.
The 49ers’ lone win this season under Healy came in a stunning fourth-quarter comeback victory over Georgia State in Week 4. Chris Reynolds threw a 2-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Grant DuBose with 17 seconds left for the win.
In three-plus seasons with Charlotte, Healy went 15-24, with his only winning campaign (7-6) coming in 2019. That season set school records for most wins, most Conference USA wins (five) and most home wins (five ) while earning a bid to the program’s first bowl game. The 49ers’ thrilling season ended in a loss to Buffalo at the Bahamas Bowl.
Under interim head coach Pete Rossomando, the 49ers have beaten Rice and lost to WKU and Middle Tennessee. Charlotte is moving to the American Athletic Conference next year.
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What this means for Charlotte
Poggi will be just the third coach in Charlotte’s short revived history, and the program has just one winning season since it began play in 2013. His first priority has to be the defense, which currently ranks 130th nationally out of 131 teams in scoring, allowing 41.1 points per game. That defense ranked 114th in scoring last year as well. He’ll also need a new starting quarterback, as five-year starter Chris Reynolds is set to graduate.
The 49ers program will move to the American Athletic Conference next season, bringing an increase in competition and a conference full of teams with more resources. This program has a lot of potential, located in a major city and an area with good high school football, and it has a nice on-campus stadium, but it’s only potential right now. The team is still behind in a lot of infrastructure areas like staffing and amenities. The good news is there is a fanbase, and the 49ers have gotten good crowds when they’re winning. It’ll be up to Poggi to reach that potential. – Vannini
(Photo: David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated via Getty)