'I love Michigan football': Harbaugh agrees to reworked, five-year contract

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has agreed to five-year contract that runs through the 2026 season, the school announced Wednesday. The contract alters the terms and length of the deal signed last January by an additional season.

The contract adds one year to the extension signed last January, but financial details were not released.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh had a brief flirtation with the NFL, and after not being offered the Minnesota Vikings head coaching position when he flew there for an interview Feb. 2, Harbaugh returned to Michigan to coach his eighth season.

The 58-year-old coach led Michigan to a 12-2 season in 2021, including the program’s first Big Ten championship since 2004 and a berth in the College Football Playoff semifinal against eventual national champion Georgia. Harbaugh was named the Associated Press Coach of the Year.

The Wolverines, coming off a 2-4 season, were unranked heading into the 2021 season and were No. 3 in the final AP Top-25 poll, the program’s highest ranking since the 1997 season won the AP national title. It’s their best final ranking since finishing No. 5 in 1999.

“Jim has done a great job coaching and developing the young men in our football program,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in the release. “Last season, Jim along with the staff and players delivered a memorable season that will remain with all of us for a long time. As Coach said, this is just the beginning.

“I have the utmost confidence in the direction of the program under Jim's leadership.”

Through seven seasons, Harbaugh is 61-24 overall at Michigan and 42-17 in the Big Ten.

“I love Michigan football, the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor community,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “My family and I are excited to continue leading this football program, and we are thankful for the support that our athletic department and university administration have demonstrated toward the team.

"My enthusiasm for tomorrow, the day after and every day following is as high as ever, and we are ready to get on the practice field and start preparations for the 2022 season.”

Coming off the challenging 2-4 season in 2020, Harbaugh signed a contract extension in January 2021 that featured a lower base salary of $4 million, roughly half what he earned in 2020.

The extension, set to run through 2025, was heavily incentivized with a maximum bonus of $3.475 million. He had been among the nation’s highest-paid coaches before his salary was slashed. The contract also included a low buyout.

“I’d do it for free,” Harbaugh said December during a pre-Orange Bowl news conference. “I would do this job for free. I love it. Whether it’s the first day, first game, or the position we’re in now, I feel really happy about that. I’ve enjoyed the ride the whole time. Every day is a blessing, and I’m happy for it, blessed for it.”

Harbaugh’s updated contract extension will have to be made public at some point and available as a public record.

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis