Jim Harbaugh has finally signed his extension, locking him in as head football coach of the Michigan Wolverines until 2026. The new contract comes with a massive pay raise. His 2022 salary will start at $7.05 million and climb to $7.63 million by the final year for a total payout of more than $36 million over five years.
It’s a huge and well-deserved pay raise for the Michigan man who led the team to its best season in 20 years. It essentially erased the sizable pay cut Harbaugh took after the 2020 season and brought him back up to snuff.
Michigan AD Warde Manual was pleased the deal was finalized:
“Jim has done a great job coaching and developing the young men in our football programme. Last season Jim, along with the staff and players, delivered a memorable season that will stay with us all for a long time. Coach said, this is just the beginning Academically our program has been one of the best in the Big Ten and among the leaders across the country We have graduated our players and they are young men of great character who have done the right things.I have the utmost confidence in the direction of the program under Jim’s leadership.
Jim Harbaugh restored Michigan’s national relevance, but it took him a while to “realize” that Michigan was the place for him. Although the current contract offer had already been extended to him, Harbaugh opted to pursue open positions in the NFL, leaving his alma mater to sit alone at the table for weeks. After the NFL opportunities dried up, Jim returned and was welcomed with open arms.
Apparently Harbaugh was happy to return the favor. He released a statement following the announcement:
“I love Michigan Football, the University of Michigan and the community of Ann Arbor. My family and I are thrilled to continue to lead this football program, and we are grateful for the support our athletic department and the university administration demonstrated towards the team.
This extension currently makes Harbaugh the second highest paid coach in the Big Ten. Michigan State’s Mel Tucker leads the way with a 10-year, $95 million contract (average $9.5). Harbaugh follows him with $7.34 million per season. Ohio State’s Ryan Day, who earned $6.6 million in 2021 and will earn $7.5 million in 2022, is third.
With new contracts for Tucker, Harbaugh and even Penn State’s James Franklin, when will Ohio State step in and pay their coach for their success over their contemporaries? Day would have the opportunity to get NFL jobs if he chooses to pursue them, so it looks like Ohio State could be playing with fire by underpaying its stellar young coach.
Ryan Day has won two Big Ten titles and has two CFP appearances in his three seasons at Ohio State. He also won the Rose Bowl last season, which is still considered a “down” year by Buckeye standards.
Earlier this week, OSU AD Gene Smith gave the state of the art for the OSU Department of Athletics:
“I don’t feel any urgency, no. I feel like we have to do things the right way with him and his family and with the president and the board of trustees of the university, and we will get there. But historically, you looked, I’ve always tried to make sure we’re paying in line with expectations and performance. But I don’t feel any sense of urgency.
Gene Smith has handled his position appropriately during his tenure as sporting director, but he needs a greater sense of urgency here. The Ohio State head coach shouldn’t have to ask for a new contract to be compensated accordingly, and the last thing you want is for him to look to the NFL.
Because, unlike Jim Harbaugh, any interest Ryan Day might have in the NFL would be mutual.