Michigan signs coach Jim Harbaugh to four-year contract extension


Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is seen during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It has been almost 10 years since Michigan has beaten Ohio State in football, and on Friday, the Wolverines signed the coach of those last five losses to a contract extension.

Jim Harbaugh agreed Friday to an extension that will keep him with the program through 2025, the school announced, after his original seven-year deal was set to expire following the 2021 season.

“I continue to believe that Jim is the right man to lead our program in pursuit of Big Ten and CFP championships,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in a news release.

According to media reports, the extension includes a lower base salary but has more incentives.

“There is work to be done and challenges to be addressed,” Harbaugh said in the statement. “These challenges are being addressed as we continue to strive for excellence in the classroom. … Thanks to our University of Michigan players and their families who have placed their trust in our program and our goals.”

Harbaugh’s salary was reported as $8 million for the 2020 season, but like many coaches, he agreed to a pay cut as athletic departments struggled with a shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Under his new contract, his base salary is reported to start at $4 million.

By comparison, the base salary for Ryan Day, who will lead Ohio State into the national championship game against Alabama on Monday night, was $5.6 million for the 2020 season before he agreed to a 5% pay cut.

Harbaugh was a quarterback for Michigan who famously guaranteed a win over Ohio State in 1986, and then delivered on it. After 14 years in the NFL, he began a successful coaching career, including stops at Stanford University and with the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL.

In 2015, he was hired to take over at Michigan. Although he has a winning record of 49-22, his teams have only two wins over top-10 teams and have lost their last four bowl games. In the shortened 2020 season, the Wolverines went 2-4.

And his Michigan teams have struggled against Ohio State, losing 42-13 in 2015, then 30-27 in double overtime, 31-20, 62-39 and 56-27. The 2020 game was canceled because of COVID-19 cases in the Wolverines program, marking the first year that the teams hadn’t played since 1917.

“Our program didn’t achieve at a level that anyone expected this year,” Manuel said, “but I know those setbacks will drive the coaches, players and staff moving forward.”

Michigan’s last win over Ohio State was during the 2011 season.

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