NFL

Jim Harbaugh will return as Michigan coach, committing to Wolverines while spurning NFL interest, per reports

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Despite leaving Michigan on National Signing Day to interview for an opening with the Minnesota Vikings, Jim Harbaugh has decided to spurn NFL opportunities to remain the coach of his alma mater, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The Wolverines were “elated” to learn of Harbaugh’s decision with the coach committing to remain with the program long-term.

“Jim Harbaugh told [athletic director] Warde Manuel that this would not be a [reoccurring issue] and he would stay at Michigan as long as it wants him,” wrote Schefter, citing sources.

Harbaugh, who last season led Michigan to its first outright Big Ten championship since 2003 and first ever appearance in the College Football Playoff, was believed to be a strong candidate for the Vikings and potentially the Miami Dolphins. Multiple reports over the last week had Harbaugh leaning toward leaving the college game and returning to the NFL as he sought the opportunity to win a Super Bowl.

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2011-14), leading the franchise to the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons (2011-13) and Super Bowl XLVII in 2012. After an 8-8 campaign in 2014, he parted with the 49ers only to take over the Wolverines days later.

Having previously led turnarounds at San Diego (2004-06) and Stanford (2007-10), Harbaugh similarly got off to a hot start at Michigan, going 10-6 across his first two seasons in 2015-16. However, the Wolverines struggled to compete with Ohio State and other top Big Ten teams over his first six campaigns, which led to UM and Harbaugh agreeing to a significant incentive-based restructuring of his contract.

Harbaugh and the Wolverines rebounded in 2021 with MIchigan achieving its first win over Ohio State since 2011. The Wolverines finished with a 12-2 record overall, giving Harbaugh a new lease on life at his alma mater.



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