Syracuse Orange football running backs coach Mike Hart is leaving to take the same position at Indiana University, per multiple reports. Peegs.com’s Matthew Weaver was the first to announce the unexpected move.
Hart’s departure comes as a surprise as the Syracuse native had spent just one year back home working under Dino Babers on SU’s staff before deciding to leave. And – while Hart is considered a talented coach – the Orange struggled running the ball in his lone year as the team’s position coach. Syracuse finished the 2016 season ranked No. 115 in yards per game, averaging 119.6 yards, and No. 123 in yards per attempt, averaging a mere 3.2 yards per carry.
Hart, who starred at Michigan and set multiple school rushing records, will now be working under one of his former coaches from his time with the Wolverines. Recently-hired Indiana offensive coordinator Mike DeBord held the same position at Michigan from 2006-2007, after previously serving as the team’s strength and reconditioning coach from 2004-2005.
As a youth, Hart was a star football player in the Syracuse area. Upon graduating from Onondaga Central High School in 2004, he set the national record for career rushing touchdowns with 204 and finishing second in career rushing yards with 11,045. The Tigers went 46-1 and won three state championships during Hart's high school career.
Hart’s No. 32 jersey was retired by Onondaga Central High School in 2014.
Hart went on to star at Michigan before being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2008. After a brief thee-year stint with the Colts, Hart retired from the NFL and turned to coaching, serving as the running backs coach for Eastern Michigan (2011-2013) and Western Michigan (2014-2015) in the MAC before being brought on by Babers to take the same position at Syracuse.
At the time of his hire, Hart described as being ecstatic after agreeing to return to Syracuse and serve the team’s running backs coach.
“It was one of those calls that I was hoping for, praying for,” Hart said.
Less than a year later, looks like Hart received another one of those calls.