Michigan Coach Shockingly Fired as Sign-Stealing Scandal Continues

Michigan linebackers coach Chris Partridge watches a play during the team's defeat of East Carolina, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan linebackers coach Chris Partridge watches a play during the team's defeat of East Carolina, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Michigan Stadium. /

Michigan fans who hoped this year’s sign-stealing scandal was ending woke up to some unsettling news on Friday.

The program announced it fired linebackers coach Chris Partridge and will replace him with defensive analyst Rick Minter going forward. A report from Yahoo Sports alleges that Partridge attempted to destroy computer evidence to help cover up sign-stealing efforts.

This isn’t great news. Not necessarily because of the loss of Patridge, who was only in his first season back with the program, but because of what this means for the fallout going forward.

Let’s break down what this firing means for Michigan.

Michigan Fires Linebackers Coach Chris Partridge

Partridge was a member of coach Jim Harbaugh’s staff for five seasons until he took a job as a co-defensive coordinator with Ole Miss in 2020.

He spent three seasons with the Rebels, eventually returning to Michigan this past offseason as a defensive analyst. However, he was soon promoted to linebackers coach after the program announced former linebackers coach George Helow was stepping down this past February.

The timing of this news must be a bit worrisome for Wolverines fans.

This firing comes less than 24 hours after Harbaugh accepted a three-game suspension from the Big Ten for violating the conference’s sportsmanship policy.

And to make matters worse, NCAA investigators have been on campus since Monday, according to a report from the Detroit News, interviewing players and low-level staffers while also reviewing work phones and tablets used by the coaching staff.

“From the outset, our focus has been on seeking due process and allowing the NCAA to conduct a fair and deliberate investigation,” the University of Michigan said in a statement released Friday. “Although the Big Ten has closed its investigation, we are continuing to cooperate with the NCAA as it moves forward with its ongoing investigation.

If you’re keeping score at home, it’s not looking good for Michigan. Harbaugh has now incurred TWO separate suspensions totaling six games, and both Connor Stallions and Partridge have been fired.

Of course, Michigan can put most of these concerns behind them with a win over Ohio State, but that won’t be made any easier without Harbaugh and Partridge on the sideline.

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