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USATSI

Charlotte has chosen Michigan associate head coach Biff Poggi as its next head football coach, the school announced on Tuesday. Poggi replaces Will Healy with the 49ers and becomes just the third coach at the program since it reinstated the football program in 2013. 

Poggi was hired at Michigan after Jim Harbaugh's disappointing pandemic campaign in 2020, and he has excelled in an off-field role. The 62-year-old coach has helped Harbaugh reevaluate and rebuild his infrastructure behind the scenes at Michigan, and has proven to be a key part of the Wolverines' 22-2 record over the past two seasons. Poggi will remain with Michigan through the end of the season before taking over at Charlotte. 

"Joining the Charlotte 49ers is an incredible opportunity," Poggi said. "The great momentum created by the leadership of this University and its athletics program gives us every opportunity to build a successful pathway for so many young men in our region. For me, this is a full circle moment, a chance to pay forward the wonderful opportunities that were given to me as a young man. We can build a championship program at Charlotte, and I can't wait to get started."

Prior to his time at Michigan, Poggi was a legendary high school coach in Maryland. Poggi led Gilman High School to 13 state championships in 19 years before spending a year at Michigan in 2016. One year later, he took over at St. Frances Academy and helped send several players to the next level, including Michigan running back Blake Corum

In Poggi, Charlotte is leaning into experience. Healy was a bright young mind when he was hired at 33 from FCS Austin Peay. But after leading the 49ers to a bowl appearance in 2019, Charlotte went just 8-18 over the next three years before Healy was released. Poggi was identified for his organization-building skills over a long career. 

"Biff has been a tremendous asset to our University of Michigan Football program, providing support and mentorship to our coaching staff and players," Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said in a statement. "He has a great football mind, knows how to prepare a team during the week and on game day, and is a coach that aims to change the lives of his players in a positive way. Biff is a trusted agent and known friend, and I know that his leadership and ability to develop a team-first culture will be a huge asset to the Charlotte 49ers."

The hiring of the high school legend Poggi also comes on the heels of UTSA coach Jeff Traylor leading the Roadrunners program to dominance in Conference USA. Traylor won three state championships as a Texas high school football coach at his native Gilmer High School in Class 3A. Traylor has a 27-9 record in three seasons at UTSA, including an 18-3 mark in conference play. Texas Tech similarly hired three-time state championship Texas high school coach Joey McGuire after Traylor's success. 

Getting this hire right is critical for Charlotte as the 49ers prepare to enter the American Athletic Conference. Six Conference USA programs are entering a power vacuum as Houston, Cincinnati and UCF leave for the Big 12. Charlotte boasted the third-highest athletic operating expenses of any C-USA program but is still trying to build a foothold just a decade into playing major college football