Gophers to promote Matt Simon and Greg Harbaugh to co-offensive coordinators

Both coaches were with Minnesota last season

Minnesota wide receivers coach Matt Simon runs onto the field during the Gophers spring football game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on April 15, 2017.
Minnesota wide receivers coach Matt Simon runs onto the field during the Gophers spring football game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on April 15, 2017.
Craig Lassig / University of Minnesota Athletics via St. Paul Pioneer Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The Gophers football program will stay in-house for the team’s next offensive coordinator. Actually, make it two coordinators.

Minnesota said Monday it will make Matt Simon and Greg Harbaugh co-offensive coordinators to replace Kirk Ciarrocca.

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The open question is whether Simon or Harbaugh will call plays when the 2023 season opens against Nebraska on Aug. 31. The Gophers news release didn’t specify.

Simon has been receivers coach under head coach P.J. Fleck since Fleck was at Western Michigan in 2014. Harbaugh was Minnesota’s tight ends coach in 2022, but has history with Fleck dating back to Western Michigan in 2015-16 and in different roles at Minnesota in 2017 and ’19.

Harbaugh will also become the Gophers quarterbacks coach. Simon will remain the receivers coach. Mainstay offensive line coach Brian Callahan will maintain his role, which also includes run-game coordinator.


Greg Harbaugh

Minnesota’s passing offense under Ciarrocca and Mike Sanford Jr., has ranked outside the top 90 in the country in five of Fleck’s six years (2019 is the only exception). They will need to be more explosive through the air and find better run-pass balance going forward, especially with All-American running back Mo Ibrahim gone.

Ciarrocca, the former OC/QB coach, left last week for a significant raise in the same job at Rutgers. Ciarrocca received a roughly $500,000 raise to $1.5 million at Rutgers and he will owe Minnesota a $275,000 buyout.

Forty percent of the Gophers’ assistant coaches have left after the 28-20 win over Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29. Among the 10 on-field assistants, the Gophers now need to hire three more position coaches: running backs, cornerbacks and, with the shuffling, tight ends.

Matt Simon
Matt Simon

Sources told the St. Paul Pioneer Press last week the Gophers are expected to hire former player Winston DeLattiboudere to fill the vacancy left by defensive line coach Brick Haley, who took the same job at Purdue. DeLattiboudere, 24, was the defensive line coach at Akron before previous stops at Charlotte and Oregon.

Minnesota cornerback coach Paul Haynes left for the same job at Wisconsin last week. Haynes and Haley each owe Minnesota $50,000 buyouts, per the terms of their contracts. Kenni Burns did not owe a buyout because he was named a head coach, at Kent State, in December.

Minnesota can use that pool of buyout money to reinvest in the staff; the school added $650,000 to the assistant salary pool when Fleck received his new contract in December. They have roughly $4.9 million total for assistants in the budget, which is believed to rank in the middle of the Big Ten Conference.

Last season, Simon’s salary was $430,000 and Harbaugh’s was $230,000. Raises are anticipated for both assistant coaches.


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