Harbaugh announces hire of title-winning Ohio HS coach

Harbaugh signed a seven-year contract to become the coach at his alma mater in late December after four seasons as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Rick Osentoski/Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Jim Harbaugh – Urban Meyer rivalry we’re all expecting got a little more fun Friday — and a little closer to home.

Harbaugh introduced Rick Finotti as Michigan’s new director of football operations in front of a crowd of high school coaches from across the Midwest at Michigan’s coaching clinic. Finotti won two big-school state titles in six seasons as head coach at Lakewood St. Edward High School, just west of Downtown Cleveland.

Finotti’s Div. I championship team last fall was loaded with major-college prospects from across the Cleveland area. He’s a Cleveland native who graduated from Villa-Angela St. Joseph High School and Cleveland State.

The director of football operations isn’t technically a recruiting position, but Michigan has traditionally recruited Northeast Ohio well and will need to in its quest to upgrade its talent and close the gap on the machine Meyer has built at Ohio State.

Harbaugh subtly jabbed at Meyer on Twitter last month after the recruitment of Detroit Cass Tech running back Mike Weber got a little ugly on a public stage. Cass Tech has long been a Michigan stronghold but Meyer has recruited top prospects from there in each of the last two recruiting classes.

Harbaugh signed a seven-year contract to become the coach at his alma mater in late December after four seasons as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Both Ohio State and Michigan are going through spring practice now.

Also worth mentioning: Harbaugh previously hired Finotti’s New Jersey equivalent, Chris Partridge, the former coach at New Jersey high school powerhouse Paramus Catholic. That school produced current Michigan redshirt freshman defensive back Jabrill Peppers and is the home of Rashan Gary, a defensive tackle rated the No. 1 overall prospect in the country by Scout.com for 2016.