Football coach Jim Harbaugh's seven-year contract with Michigan is filled with incentives and a significant pool of money for his assistants, and also built in is a buyout that would make Harbaugh responsible for paying Michigan a pro-rated amount of his $2 million signing bonus.
Harbaugh's contract, obtained Friday by The Detroit News in response to a Freedom of Information request, was drafted Dec. 28, 2014. Harbaugh was formally introduced as head coach of his alma mater on Dec. 30. He spent the last four years coaching the San Francisco 49ers.
Some details of Harbaugh's contract were revealed at his introductory news conference, specifically his annual base salary of $500,000 with additional annual compensation of $4.5 million for TV, radio, Internet, public relations and public appearances. Also revealed were the incentives, including a $250,000 bonus for winning a Big Ten championship game and $500,000 for winning a national championship.
What was missing that day were details of a buyout. According to the contract, if Harbaugh or a representative talks to another team regarding a job, he must give the Michigan athletic director notice within 48 hours. If Harbaugh leaves early, he must reimburse a portion of the $2 million bonus.
As important to a head coach is the money pool for his nine-assistant staff, excluding the strength and conditioning coach. Michigan has a compensation fund of $4 million to $5 million, according to the contract, for Harbaugh's assistants. That total will increase 10 percent in contract years three and five.
Former coach Brady Hoke had a fund of $3.49 million last year for his nine assistant coaches and the strength and conditioning coach.
Hoke's contract in 2014, his final season before being fired Dec. 2, was $2.3 million. Hoke also received a $3 million buyout. During his four seasons at Michigan, Hoke made $14.4 million.
Harbaugh will be evaluated 30 days after the last game of his first year, and, the contract said, Michigan will determined appropriate deferred compensation. At the end of his fifth year, Harbaugh's overall compensation will be reviewed and compared to his peers and if it is not found to be competitive, it will be adjusted accordingly.
After his third year, Harbaugh's base salary and additional compensation will increase by 10 percent, so if after the fifth year it is determined Harbaugh's salary must be significantly spiked, that will be in lieu of the 10-percent increase.
If Michigan fires Harbaugh without cause, he will be paid his base salary and additional compensation at the time of his firing for the remainder of the contract. But Harbaugh will be expected to make good-faith efforts to find another job.