Jim Harbaugh, who had been considered a top candidate for an NFL coaching job, is staying with Michigan, the university’s president announced Monday.
Santa Ono tweeted that Harbaugh had called him and “shared with me the great news that he is going to remain as the Head Coach of the Michigan Wolverines.”
In a statement Monday, Harbaugh said: “I love the relationships that I have at Michigan – coaches, staff, families, administration, President Santo Ono and especially the players and their families. My heart is at the University of Michigan. I once heard a wise man say, ‘Don’t try to out-happy, happy.’ Go Blue!”
People close to the situation have told the Detroit Free Press that a contract extension is in the works for Harbaugh that would include a pay raise and a bigger buyout from his contract. The people were granted anonymity because they are not at liberty to speak publicly on the ongoing negotiations.
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Harbaugh has gone 74-25 at Michigan in eight seasons, including a 25-3 mark in 2021-22, the best two-year stretch for Michigan in the 21st century. The past two seasons have yielded two wins over Ohio State, two Big Ten championships and two appearances – and two losses – in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Michigan is 1-6 in bowl games under Harbaugh, losing the past six, including an upset to TCU this season in the Fiesta Bowl.
The NFL rumor mill started spinning following the conclusion of Michigan’s season. There were reports that Harbaugh was contacted by the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, but he released a statement saying he expects to be “enthusiastically coaching Michigan in 2023.”
Reports also emerged after the campaign that say Harbaugh, 59, is facing potential discipline by the NCAA after being accused of committing a Level I violation.
Harbaugh had interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings last year, a job that eventually went to Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell. Harbaugh appeared to close the door on his return to the NFL in March, saying, “Ultimately, I decided this is where I wanted to be.”
Harbaugh professed a commitment to trying to win a national title at Michigan. He then signed a new contract for the second straight offseason, and made $10 million this season in salary and bonuses.
Monday’s announcement rules out his return to the NFL.
Harbaugh spent four seasons as coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14, racking up a 44-19-1 record. He led Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII following the 2012 season (San Francisco lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens, coached by his brother, John Harbaugh).
Harbaugh jumped to Michigan in December 2014 following an 8-8 final season with the 49ers. Harbaugh has also served as the head coach of the University of San Diego (2004–2006) and Stanford University (2007–2010).
Contributing: Marlowe Alter, Tony Garcia and David Jesse, Detroit Free Press