Michigan announced Friday that linebackers coach Chris Partridge has been relieved of his duties effective immediately.
The announcement comes a day after Michigan said it was dropping its legal case against the Big Ten and that coach Jim Harbaugh would serve his three-game suspension levied by the conference.
A source told ESPN that Partridge’s firing stemmed from his lack of cooperation with the NCAA investigation.
“From the outset, our focus has been on seeking due process and allowing the NCAA to conduct a fair and deliberate investigation,” Michigan said in a prepared statement. “Although the Big Ten has closed its investigation, we are continuing to cooperate with the NCAA as it moves forward with its ongoing investigation. Consistent with our commitment to integrity, we will continue to take the appropriate actions, including disciplinary measures, based on information we obtain. Earlier today, Michigan Athletics relieved Chris Partridge of his duties as a member of the Michigan Football staff. Due to employee privacy laws, we are unable to comment further.”
However, a source told ESPN’s Pete Thamel that the specific language Michigan used to explain Partridge’s firing was: “As we discussed today, the university has received evidence that you have failed to abide by the university directive not to discuss an ongoing NCAA investigation with anyone associated with the Michigan football program or others and as a result has determined that you have failed to satisfactorily perform your duties.”
The actions of Michigan in agreeing to discipline and then firing Partridge mark a change in how the institution has viewed the investigation. Information gleaned in NCAA interviews led in part to the acceptance of the Big Ten decision and to Partridge’s firing, sources told Thamel.
Rick Minter will serve as the linebackers coach when the Wolverines play Maryland on Saturday. Partridge had been Michigan’s director of player personnel in 2015, then served as the special teams coach, safeties coach and eventually linebackers coach from 2016 to ’19.
Partridge then spent three seasons as co-defensive coordinator at Ole Miss before returning to Michigan in February 2023.
Harbaugh was suspended by the Big Ten for violating the conference’s sportsmanship policy with the allegations that former staffer Connor Stalions had scouted teams in-person and recorded play signals to later steal the signs from opposing teams. Michigan did not specify in its statement if Partridge was connected to the allegations and has not issued a statement for the reason it halted its legal battle with the conference.