It looks like Jim Harbaugh will be back at Michigan next season.
For the second straight offseason, a Wolverines head coach has interviewed with an NFL franchise. Last year, it was an in-person interview with the Minnesota Vikings that never turned into a job offer. Harbaugh had a virtual interview with the Denver Broncos this year and has reportedly received interest from several other pro franchises.
After weeks of concern over Harbaugh’s status in Ann Arbor, Michigan announced Monday that Harbaugh and university president Santa J. Ohno’s announcement announcing that Harbaugh will return to lead the program next fall.
“I just spoke with Coach Harbaugh and Jim shared with me the great news that he is going to stay on as the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. It’s fantastic news that I’ve shared with our athletic director, Ward Manuel,” said Ono.
Harbaugh added. “I love the relationships I have at Michigan: the coaches, the staff, the families, the administration, President Santa Ono and especially the players and their families. My heart is in the University of Michigan. I once heard a wise man say: “Don’t try to be too happy.” Go blue.”
Harbaugh led Michigan to back-to-back Big Ten titles
Harbaugh, 59, has been the head coach at his alma mater since 2015 and has a 74-25 record in that span. Over the past two seasons, he has led the program to Big Ten titles and College Football Playoff appearances. Michigan failed to beat rival Ohio State in Harbaugh’s first six seasons on the job, but the Wolverines swept the rival Buckeyes in two straight.
Those wins gave the Wolverines the Big Ten East title. Last year, UM beat Iowa State to win its first title since 2003.
In 2021, Michigan fell to eventual national champion Georgia in the CFP semifinals. Michigan was upset by TCU in the semifinals last season.
After the loss to the Horned Frogs, several reports resurfaced indicating that Harbaugh, who went 44-19 as the San Francisco 49ers coach from 2011 to 2014, would be interested in returning to the NFL. Harbaugh’s interview with the Vikings in Minneapolis on National Signing Day made that clear. But after the Vikings decided to hire Kevin O’Connell instead, Harbaugh insisted his pursuit of the NFL job was a one-off.
That turned out not to be the case, as Harbaugh was one of many candidates to interview with the Broncos. Harbaugh was also linked to the Indianapolis Colts’ vacancy. Harbaugh played defensive end for the Colts from 1994-97 and reportedly had some interest in returning.
After all that, Harbaugh remains in Michigan. And that’s despite an impending NCAA investigation.
Sources told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports that Michigan received a draft notice of the allegations earlier this month. The case primarily involves Level II violations, but Harbaugh could be suspended because he is charged with a Level I violation for allegedly not being forthcoming with investigators.
Michigan is among the favorites for the 2023 national title
However, Harbaugh has a great team coming back next fall.
Some of his team’s best players have opted to return next season rather than turn pro. That includes running back Blake Corum, receiver Cornelius Johnson, offensive linemen Trevor Keegan and Zach Zinter and defensive lineman Chris Jenkins. The Wolverines also return quarterback JJ McCarthy.
Michigan is poised to become one of the national championship favorites entering the 2023 season. The Wolverines (+1,000) currently have the fourth-best national championship odds at BetMGM, behind Georgia (+300), Ohio State (+600) and Alabama (+600).
And with that, Michigan administrators, players and fans won’t have to worry about Harbaugh returning to the NFL, at least until next season.