A deep dive with Milan Bolden-Morris, a historic hire for Michigan football
By Taylor Seid
April 7, 2022
Photo Credit: Michigan Athletics (MGoBlue.com)
On March 15, news broke that the University of Michigan would be hiring Milan Bolden-Morris as the first-ever female graduate assistant coach in Michigan, Big Ten, and FBS Power 5 program history. Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh announced that Bolden-Morris will be working with the team's quarterbacks.
To learn more about this remarkable moment (during Women’s History Month, nonetheless), I sat down with Bolden-Morris and talked with her about the journey leading up to this new role, her expectations, and what it all means.
I first asked how she felt about the exciting opportunity. Bolden-Morris said, “To have this opportunity at such a young age is super dope for me considering I have a lot of room to grow. To be the first to do it in the Big 10 and at the Power 5 level is a blessing for me because it provides me the opportunity to help and assist other women who really want to get into football.”
For Bolden-Morris, football has always been a major part of her life. Growing up in West Palm Beach, FL, she was surrounded by a football-loving community and watched her father coach her brother Mike Morris (current Michigan defensive end) in high school.
But Bolden-Morris is a lover of other sports too. She played softball, baseball, and flag football in her early childhood until eventually focusing on basketball later in her life, playing collegiately at Boston College and Georgetown University.
When talking about how her time in sports has prepared her for this new role, Bolden-Morris explained, “I have always been in somewhat of a decision-making role in the sports I have played, which has allowed me to conceptualize the game differently.”
She further elaborated on her experience in these decision-making positions, drawing similarities between the high pressure she has faced before and the high stakes that come with the role of a quarterback. Due to this similarity, Bolden-Morris feels prepared and confident in her ability to coach quarterbacks in her graduate assistant position at Michigan.
Bolden-Morris also understands the potential scrutiny that comes with being a powerful woman in a male-dominated industry, but she remains unfazed. In response to the many negative comments she has received about her presumed lack of qualifications (and experience actually playing football) for filling the position of a quarterback coach, Bolden-Morris has always responded, “With my faith, I’m really not concerned with what a lot of people have to say. I’m open to growth and learning from everyone so I’m okay with not knowing things and going into this not as experienced as other coaches are.”
Finally, she offers advice for young women looking to break into the sport industry. “Whatever your passion is, whether it’s football or basketball, whatever it is, just never give up on it and continue to pursue it. As long as you continue to work hard and never give up on the things that you are passionate about, things will always work out. Just a couple of years ago, I would have never thought that this is something that I would have been doing.”
Bolden-Morris is certainly an inspiration to millions of young women looking to work in sports and balance the gender inequities that currently exist. She is a trailblazer, and we are all looking forward to seeing her succeed.
Bolden-Morris is scheduled to start at Michigan on June 1, a season after the Wolverines won the Big Ten title and competed in the College Football Playoff.