Jan. 14, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY--
"We're excited to bring Jim Harding on board as our offensive line coach. Jim is a bright young coach with a solid background and an extensive knowledge of our offensive system," said Whittingham.
For the past five seasons, Harding was an assistant at Wyoming under Dave Christensen, who was hired as Utah's offensive coordinator in December. Harding was Wyoming's co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach in 2013 when the Cowboys finished 22nd in the country in total offense, averaging 472.8 yards a game. Harding's first four years in Laramie, he shared the offensive line coaching duties and he was also the run game coordinator in 2012.
The Wyoming offense ranked second in the Mountain West Conference and 38th in the nation in passing offense in 2012, averaging 265.4 yards per game. The 2011 Cowboy offense ranked No. 11 in the nation in fewest sacks allowed, with the line coached by Harding allowing only 12 sacks in 13 games.
Center Nick Carlson was a three-time all-Mountain West Conference selection, making the first team in 2012. Offensive tackle Clayton Kirvin was a 2011 second-team all-leaguer.
Harding has coached eight seasons overall with Christensen, first as an offensive graduate assistant at Missouri from 2002-04 when Christensen was the Mizzou offensive coordinator. Harding also played for Christensen at Toledo, where he was a four-year starting offensive tackle from 1997-2000 when Christensen was the UT offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
Harding has participated in three bowl games as a college coach: the 2003 Independence Bowl with Missouri and the 2009 and 2011 New Mexico Bowl with Wyoming.
Harding enjoyed an outstanding college career for Toledo, where he was a four-year starter and set a school record with 46 consecutive starts. He was a first-team all-Mid-American Conference selection as a senior in 2000 and a team captain for a Toledo team that finished with a 10-1 record and a No. 25 ranking in the final Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches' polls. At the conclusion of his senior season, Harding was named the co-recipient of the Jim Nicholson Award, which is presented each year to the Toledo player who contributes most toward the success of the team.
Toledo won or shared three MAC divisional titles in the four seasons Harding played. The Rockets won the 1997 and 1998 MAC West Division and were co-champions of the MAC West in 2000. The Maumee, Ohio, native earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Toledo in May 2001, and achieved a master's degree in career and technical education from Missouri in December 2004.