For most Michigan fans, opportunities to see Jim Harbaugh in person had been fleeting before his first game coaching in Michigan Stadium on Saturday. Throughout the eight months before his coaching debut, Harbaugh spent much of his time hunkered down in Schembechler Hall preparing for the upcoming season or traveling the country and the world.
So when the University posted a job opening on June 16 to be the director of internal communications and operations for the head football coach, people jumped at the chance to apply and work with Harbaugh. According to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Daily, 408 people applied for the position in the week the job was posted.
The selected applicant was Zach Eisendrath, who had previously been an assistant director of public and media relations in the Athletic Department, working with the football and men’s tennis teams. Eisendrath declined comment for this story through an Athletic Department spokesman.
The job posting summarized Eisendrath’s role as: “The Director of Internal Communications assists the football coach in all areas, including day-to-day operations, communications, office management and administration. He/she works directly with the U-M administrators, coaches and student-athletes to promote and maintain a positive brand image for the Michigan football program. This individual is also responsible for working with all related departments to ensure that the football program is providing a collaborative message that integrates with the athletic department initiatives.”
According to the original job posting, the role is 80 percent operations and 20 percent communications. The operations part of the job involves tasks such as maintaining the coach’s personal and professional contacts and assisting the head coach with personal appearances and off-season engagement.
And yes, the communications portion of the job description does mention helping out with the coach’s personal Twitter account, though Harbaugh has said that his famous Twitter account contains only his own thoughts.
So what does Harbaugh think about Eisendrath? On Eisendrath’s birthday, four days before the job was posted, Harbaugh tweeted: “Happy Birthday to Zach Eisendrath! He’s a quick study! Moved swiftly from obscurity to Known Friend & Trusted Agent!”