Michigan, Jim Harbaugh near deal on 5-year extension

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan and Jim Harbaugh are nearing what would be a five-year extension with a lower base salary but with heavy incentives. If the Wolverines were to reach certain championship benchmarks, he could recoup most of the $8 million he was set to make this season.

Jim Harbaugh

Two sources said it appears Harbaugh will remain as head football coach, but the deal had not been finalized or signed. Both said an agreement could be finalized in the next few days.

The contract presented features heavy incentives for winning the Big Ten East Division, a Big Ten championship, reaching the national playoffs and winning a national championship. There also is a smaller buyout if UM decides to fire Harbaugh.

Harbaugh entered the 2020 season as the only FBS coach with less than two years remaining on his contract, which was set to expire after the 2021 season. Harbaugh has coached six seasons at his alma mater.

He and athletic director Warde Manuel began discussions about his future with the Wolverines on Dec. 17. Shortly after that initial meeting, Michigan parted ways with defensive coordinator Don Brown on Dec. 22 after five seasons. It is unclear what other changes Harbaugh may make to the staff. Six of his assistants have contracts expiring on Monday – Jay Harbaugh, Mike Zordich, Shaun Nua, Ed Warinner, Sherrone Moore and Ben McDaniels.

Harbaugh and several of his players fought hard to play in 2020 amid the COVID-19-shortened Big Ten season. But the season they wanted, did not go as they had hoped. The Wolverines are coming off an abysmal 2-4 season, that included a loss to heavy underdog Michigan State and a comeback victory in triple overtime at Rutgers.

As Michigan’s coach, Harbaugh has gone winless in five games against arch-rival Ohio State and is 3-3 against Michigan State. The Wolverines are 2-12 against top-10 teams. Michigan under Harbaugh has gone 49-22 overall in six season and 34-16 in the Big Ten.


Twitter: @chengelis