Harbaugh, Michigan 'Right There' On Contract Extension

An announcement could be coming soon. 

Will Burchfield
July 08, 2020 - 12:30 pm

Had a global pandemic not brought the country to a standstill this spring, Jim Harbaugh would likely have already signed a contract extension with Michigan. As it is, an announcement should be coming soon. 

Harbaugh said on a Zoom call with local media Wednesday that talks were "right there" in February, "and then the pandemic hit and it's not been as high on the priority list."

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Instead, Michigan's athletic department has been navigating the coronavirus, unsure if there will even be a football season this fall. So Harbaugh's contract, which is set to expire after the 2021 season, was placed on the backburner. 

"I think there’s bigger fish to fry for our athletic director, for our administration, really for me as a coach," Harbaugh said. "It hasn’t been on top of the priority list. I would expect something, that there will be an announcement at some time. I’m under contract this year and next, so we’ll get to that when it’s higher on the priority list for everybody." 

College coaches typically sign an extension at least three years before the expiration of their contract, with an eye toward recruiting. Players won't want to commit to a coach who appears to be in limbo. It doesn't seem like that's been a problem Harbaugh, with Michigan's 2021 recruiting class currently among the top 10 in the country. 

Harbaugh has a 48-17 record through five seasons at Michigan -- but he's 0-5 against rival Ohio State. He said this offseason the Wolverines are 'on the cusp' of big things. 

He has the full support of the Michigan administration, especially athletic director Warde Manuel who said in May of 2018 that he wants Harbaugh to coach at Michigan until he retires

"Jim knows how I feel about him," Manuel said. "We've had great conversations and I don't want him to go anywhere." 

Harbaugh, 56, was set to make north of $8 million in 2020 before he took a 10 percent pay cut to help offset Michigan's budget losses during the pandemic. He was the third highest-paid coach in college football in 2019, behind only Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Alabama’s Nick Saban.