There may be a growing chorus of concern as to the direction of the Michigan football program from various factions around the team, but those notes aren’t being sung in the university’s athletic department.
At a series of Big Ten meetings in Rosemont, Ill., that includes all of the conference’s athletic directors, U-M’s athletics boss, Warde Manuel, was asked about Jim Harbaugh‘s future as the head football coach. Manuel was very emphatic that, along with men’s basketball coach John Beilein, he wants Harbaugh to remain in his current job until the former Wolverines quarterback is ready to hang up his coaching whistle.
“I love my coaches across the board, love those two guys in particular,” Manuel said Tuesday by way of mlive.com. “I’m extremely pleased with where we are from a staffing, coaching standpoint and Jim and John are two people that I would love to see retire from this institution, retire from coaching. …
“I don’t want Jim to go anywhere either, but he’s got four more years at this point. Jim also knows how I feel about him. We’ve had great conversations and I don’t want him to go anywhere either.”
Harbaugh, the former NFL head coach who many assume, right or wrong, will head back to that level of football at some point before his coaching career ends, has four years remaining on the seven-year contract he signed after becoming U-M’s head coach in December of 2014. Last year, Harbaugh’s $7 million in total pay was third in the country according to USA Today‘s coaches salaries database, behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban ($11.1 million) and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney ($8.5 million). Right behind Harbaugh was Urban Meyer of rival Ohio State at $6.4 million.
All three of those head coaches have won a national championship, or, in the case of Saban and Meyer, multiple national championships. In three years in Ann Arbor, Harbaugh has gone 28-11 with finishes of third (2015), third (2016) and fourth (2017) in the Big Ten East.
U-M is also 1-5 against rivals Ohio State (0-3) and Michigan State (1-2) during Harbaugh’s tenure.