Jim Harbaugh's sixth season as Michigan's coach did not go as planned (to say the least) but the Wolverines are moving forward with his tenure anyway. With Harbaugh's previous deal set to cover just one more season, the coach and school agreed to a four-year extension with "revised financial terms effective Jan. 11, 2021."
While the statement did not specify those terms, Harbaugh will reportedly be taking a significant pay cut as part of the deal. 247Sports reports that Harbaugh will make $20 million over five years, coming out to about $4 million annually. That's about half of what he made in 2020. However, he will still be able to earn up to $8 million with incentives. Harbaugh's buyout, while not yet specified, is also expected to be lower.
"I continue to believe that Jim is the right man to lead our program in pursuit of Big Ten and CFP championships," said athletic director Warde Manuel. "Our program didn't achieve at a level that anyone expected this year, but I know those setbacks will drive the coaches, players and staff moving forward. Jim is a tireless worker and competitor. Following the completion of the season we talked for many hours on what it will take for Jim to lead and get us back on the right trajectory."
"My thanks to athletic director Warde Manuel for the trust that he has shown in allowing me to continue to coach the University of Michigan football team, and to president Mark Schlissel and the board of regents for their on-going support," said Harbaugh. "My additional thanks to Doug Gnodtke, our football staff and as those departments on campus who continue to support our mission. Over the past few weeks, Warde and I had discussions that have been honest, open, insightful and constructive in moving our football program forward. Discussions that I look forward to continuing over the months and years ahead. We have a plan.
A revered former Michigan quarterback, Harbaugh has a 49-22 record at the school that includes a 34-16 mark in Big Ten play. However, the Wolverines have not defeated rival Ohio State during his tenure and have yet to qualify for a Big Ten Championship Game or the College Football Playoff. With those demerits looming overhead during a woeful 2-4 season, Harbaugh's future at Michigan came into question.
Despite the program's continued inconsistency at quarterback, reports of friction between Harbaugh and the university administration and other indications that the 2020 season could be his last, Harbaugh continued to recruit well this year. The Wolverines have signed 20 players as part of a 2021 recruiting class ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten by 247Sports that includes five-star quarterback prospect J.J. McCarthy.
Though Harbaugh will stay in Ann Arbor, Wolverines defensive coordinator Don Brown was fired after the season.
Harbaugh and Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel met Dec. 17 and Harbaugh's contract was among the topics discussed, according to the Detroit Free Press. The university then presented Harbaugh with a five-year extension this week, according to Yahoo's Dan Wetzel.