Here are the details of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh's new contract
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s freshly signed five-year contract will pay $7.05 million in base salary the first season with performance-based bonuses that could reach $3.125 million. His buyout will decrease from $3 million this first year to $750,000 in the final year.
The contract that runs through the 2026 season was signed Wednesday and released Thursday and obtained by The Detroit News through an open-records request. In Year 5, Harbaugh’s base salary will be $7.62 million.
Harbaugh also will receive $1 million in deferred compensation for his annual supplemental contribution retirement plan.
In January 2021, Harbaugh signed a contract extension after a challenging 2-4 season in 2020 that slashed his base salary to $4 million, roughly half what he earned in 2020. That contract extension, which was set to run through 2025, was heavily incentivized. This current contract pushes him back toward his previous earnings.
Harbaugh had a brief flirtation with returning to the NFL where he had coached the San Francisco 49ers before taking the job at Michigan. 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. He told ESPN’s Adam Schefter at the time that, “This would not be a re-occurring issue and that he would stay at Michigan as long as it would have him.”
The buyout in the current contract is not steep and would not dissuade NFL interest in Harbaugh in future years, however. It drops to $2.25 million in Year 2, $1.5 million in Year 3, and $750,000 in Year 4.
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.
Among the bonuses Harbaugh could earn in this new contract is $500,000 for winning the Big Ten East and making the Big Ten conference championship and $1 million for winning the Big Ten championship game. He also would earn $1 million for winning a national championship.
Also included in the contract, Michigan can terminate Harbaugh’s contract if he participates in a job search or interview with another employer if he doesn’t inform Michigan.
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 a release Wednesday. “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 the 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.”