Angelique S. Chengelis
| The Detroit News
Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh has officially signed an extension, featuring a lower base salary and heavy incentives, that runs through the 2025 season.
Harbaugh, 57, whose original seven-year deal was set to expire after the 2021 season, signed the new deal Friday, the university announced.
The revised financial terms kick in on Monday.
Several sources told The News on Thursday the new contract includes incentives for reaching championship benchmarks like winning a Big Ten championship and a national championship. The extension also has a smaller buyout.
“I continue to believe that Jim is the right man to lead our program in pursuit of Big Ten and CFP championships,” Manuel said in a release Friday. “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.
“Jim loves the University of Michigan and this football program. He has been committed to this university, athletic department and football program since his days as a player and returning in 2015 as the head coach. He wants to do everything possible to build a championship football team while graduating our student-athletes. We all need to do our part to continue to help in that pursuit as it takes everyone pulling the same direction to have a championship level program.”
Harbaugh entered the 2020 season as the only FBS coach with less than two years remaining on his contract. Harbaugh has coached six seasons (49-22) at his alma mater.
Harbaugh and Manuel began discussions about his future with the Wolverines on Dec. 17. Shortly after that initial meeting, Michigan parted ways with defensive coordinator Don Brown on Dec. 22 after five seasons.
“There is work to be done and challenges to be addressed,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “These challenges are being addressed as we continue to strive for excellence in the classroom and championships on the field, a message that I hope is noted in the language of our agreed-upon contract.
“Thanks to our University of Michigan players and their families who have placed their trust in our program and our goals.
“All our energy and focus is directed toward laying an outstanding foundation for the 2021 football season.”
In November, Harbaugh was asked about his future at Michigan considering NFL rumors that he might return to coaching in the league.
Harbaugh came to Michigan from the San Franciso 49ers. His responses at the time suggested he planned to remain at his alma mater.
“Again, it’s your willingness and interest in listening to what they say,” Harbaugh said at that time. “I don’t really have anything to say because I don’t have any real interest in listening to that kind of stuff. I think you know me by now. I always let the actions speak for what you have to say. I’ve always thought this, that your actions speak so loudly that people can’t even hear what you’re saying.
“I’ll let the actions speak as they have in the past.”
He was asked if the interpretation of his actions suggest that he intends to coach at Michigan for a long time.
“Yeah, those are the actions,” Harbaugh said.
These comments came in the midst of what would be a dismal 2-4 season for the Wolverines. Harbaugh and several of his players fought hard to play in the 2020 in the COVID-19-shortened Big Ten season. But the season they wanted, did not go as they had hoped. They canceled the final three games, including against arch-rival Ohio State, because of COVID-19 issues.
As Michigan’s coach, Harbaugh has gone winless in five games against arch-rival Ohio State and is 3-3 against Michigan State.
The Wolverines are 2-12 against top-10 teams. Michigan under Harbaugh has gone 49-22 overall in six season and 34-16 in the Big Ten.
Now Harbaugh’s focus will turn to reshaping his staff. Several sources have told The News that Harbaugh is zeroing in on Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach Mike Macdonald as defensive coordinator. Macdonald, 33, has spent the last three seasons as linebackers coach under Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, older brother of the Michigan coach.
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