Less Than Two Years Remain On Jim Harbaugh's Contract

Eric Rutter

Heading into the 2020 season, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will be entering the final two seasons of his contract with the school, one that ranks him as the highest paid public employee in the state of Michigan.

While some suggest that Harbaugh may be on the hot seat pending his performance this coming season, he and the school had engaged in contract extension talks as recently as this February. Shortly after, though, the school's attention shifted in other directions, and contract talks fell by the wayside for the time being.

“It was kind of right there,” Harbaugh said. “Right in last February when it was being discussed. Then the pandemic hit and it’s been not as high on the priority list.”

Earlier this offseason, Harbaugh actually took a 10% pay cut, as did Michigan basketball head coach Juwan Howard, to help the school deal with an expected revenue loss from a coronavirus-impacted 2020-21 sports season.

However, Harbaugh is not concerned about his future with the program, and he has adamantly stated that he will remain Michigan's head coach on a long term basis no matter how much time exists on his current deal.

“I’m under contract this year and next,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll get to that, I’m sure. We’ll get to that when that’s more high on the priority list for everybody.”

In 2019, Harbaugh pulled in $7,504,000 for his work, which was the third highest amount in all of college football, as the team finished the year with a 9-4 season. Overall, Harbaugh has produced a 47-18 record in his time as Michigan's head coach.

“I think there’s bigger fish to fry,” Harbaugh said. “For our athletic director, for our administration, for me as a coach. It hasn’t been on the top of the priority list. I would expect something, but there will be an announcement sometime. "

For context, former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke signed a six-year deal worth upwards of $18,000,000, and he accumulated a 31-20 record during his time in Ann Arbor. 

One important element to note is that U-M athletic director Warde Manuel's contract is set to expire before Harbaugh's. Back when Manuel was brought on board in 2016, he inked a five-year deal that is approaching now its end.

Over the past five seasons, the Harbaugh-Manuel tandem have helped elevate Michigan's program to that of a team that is routinely ranked within the top 25 nationally but not quite high enough to challenge for the College Football Playoffs. The Wolverines also are yet to win a Big Ten Championship during the past five seasons, but all signs point to a commitment to both Harbaugh and Manuel in the near future.

Would you choose to extend Jim Harbaugh's contract if you were Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel? If so, what would the criteria look like and for how long would the contract last? Let us know!