Baxter comes to U-M after previously coaching at USC as the associate head coach and special teams coordinator from 2010-13.
“John Baxter has long been considered one of the premier special teams coordinators in the country and I am thrilled to have him on our staff," Harbaugh said. "His special teams units have consistently been a force to be reckoned with. In addition to his success on the field, I am confident that John's innovative 'Academic Gameplan' will be a great resource to our young men in the classroom."
At USC, Baxter’s teams excelled in many categories. During his tenure, his team’s finished in the top 10 in blocked punts, blocked kicks and kick return yardage. In 2011, he was named FootballScoop.com Special Teams Coordinator of the Year.
"To have an opportunity to coach at this school with this head coach, at this time, might be the greatest opportunity in all of football today," Baxter said. "I am really excited to learn about our players and to answer the challenge that Big Ten football presents in terms of competitive excellence and special teams."
Before USC, Baxter spent 13 seasons on the Fresno State coaching staff. During his tenure at Fresno State, Baxter developed “Academic Gameplan,” a program that teaches students the rules, fundamentals, techniques and life skills needed to succeed in the classroom. The program is now being used throughout the country.
Baxter, 51, has 32 years of coaching experience.