Michigan director of athletics Warde Manuel hasn’t given up on keeping Jim Harbaugh as his football coach, even as NFL rumors continue surfacing.
During an event at the Crisler Center, which followed a parade for the Wolverines’ national championship, Maneul told those in attendance — which included Harbaugh, near him on the stage — that “I am working on getting this man a new contract, I promise you that,” according to the Detroit News.
Harbaugh was also greeted by “10 more years,” “don’t leave” and “stay here” shouts from fans at the celebratory event, the outlet reported.
The reality, though, revolves around that being a difficult task for Manuel.
NFL Network reported Sunday that it’s “believed” Harbaugh will interview with the Chargers next week, while ESPN reported in December that the former 49ers coach hired agent Don Yee — who works with Tom Brady and Sean Payton — to represent him.
Michigan also reportedly offered Harbaugh a 10-year, $125 million contract extension, NFL Network reported in December, that included a one-season clause about not entertaining or accepting an NFL job for the 2024 season.
That all unfolded before the Wolverines then defeated Alabama in the Rose Bowl, cruised past Washington in the College Football Playoff championship game and secured the program’s first title in 26 years.
Harbaugh didn’t speculate much about his future before the title game, after the title game or at any point since he hoisted the trophy in the on-field ceremony.
“There’s a calendar,” he said at the CFP championship game media day. “I’ll gladly talk about the future next week. I hope to have one. How about that? A future? I hope to have one.”
Harbaugh spent four seasons as the 49ers’ coach from 2011-14, going 44-19-1 and advancing to the Super Bowl in 2012, where he lost to his brother, John, and the Ravens.
Since returning to college football and taking the Michian job ahead of the 2015 season, Harbaugh has compiled an 89-25 record, and their pair of wins in the CFP this year followed their loss to TCU in the national semifinals in 2022.
He also previously interviewed for the Vikings’ head coaching job in 2022 — before they hired current head coach Kevin O’Connell — and vowed after that it’d be his “last time” chasing a head coaching job in the NFL.
Then, one year later, Harbaugh interviewed with the Broncos before they hired Payton.
That makes his next move difficult to project.
After Michigan won the national title, Harbaugh revealed in a “SportsCenter” interview that he planned to push spring ball back.
The Wolverines appear set to make every attempt to keep him — likely with an extension — as their coach, too.
But for now, and into next week, the Chargers’ vacancy might loom as their biggest threat.