Michigan offered Jim Harbaugh a big contract to stay at school: report

Michigan tried its hardest to retain football coach Jim Harbaugh after winning the national championship, and that included a hefty pay package, according to an insider.
Jim Harbaugh left Michigan to coach in the NFL, but the Wolverines made every attempt to keep him on.
Jim Harbaugh left Michigan to coach in the NFL, but the Wolverines made every attempt to keep him on. / Melanie Maxwell / USA TODAY NETWORK
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A new report suggests that Michigan made a serious attempt to retain Jim Harbaugh as Wolverines head football coach after winning the national championship.

Michigan offered Harbaugh a five-year contract worth over $11 million per season with performance-based incentives added on, according to CBS Sports' John Talty, co-author of the book "The Price."

Michigan's lawyers also asked for language in the offer that would have protected the school in case of any unforeseen changes in the NCAA's ongoing sign-stealing investigation.

The school was in the NCAA's cross-hairs last season, but despite the unwanted attention from college football's governing body, Michigan was able to win its first national championship since 1997.

And that was without Harbaugh on the field for six games of that season.

Michigan self-imposed a three-game suspension that kept Harbaugh off the sideline for the first three games for violating recruiting regulations back during the Covid period, and the Big Ten suspended Harbaugh another three games over the sign-stealing allegations, including the program's record-breaking 1,000th all-time victory.

In the end, Harbaugh did finally leave Michigan, taking the head coaching position with the Los Angeles Chargers in the NFL starting this season.

Michigan replaced Harbaugh with Sherrone Moore, who led the team to four victories as interim coach, including wins against top-10 ranked rivals Penn State and Ohio State.



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James Parks


James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.