Michigan agreed to a contract extension Friday with Jim Harbaugh, keeping the Wolverines head coach at the helm on what would be a five-year contract for $ 20 million. Former Michigan star receiver (1989-91) and Heisman Trophy winner (1991), ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard weighed in on the Wolverines move on Saturday.
“I said towards the end of the season that if they wanted to keep Coach Harbaugh the decision would be to fire defensive coordinator Don Brown,” Howard said on ESPN’s SportsCenter, referring to a decision December 22, which led to the 65- year-old Brown hiring Wednesday as Arizona’s defensive coordinator. “Because the defense gradually deteriorated, and I said on GameDay (ESPN’s College) that he was constantly trying to play a ploy that he didn’t have the staff to do it.
“So once I saw that ankle drop, which meant Don Brown was fired, then I knew there was a good chance Jim Harbaugh would be held in Michigan. And they gave him a chance to weigh the decisions and see if there was an NFL. interest.
“So they came back with, like you said, an incentive contract because Coach Harbaugh didn’t underperform his previous contract. So they gave him an incentive contract. Warde Manuel, the sporting director, agreed. Coach Harbaugh agrees. And that’s where we are today. ”
Harbaugh, 57, is 49-22 overall and 34-16 against Big Ten since 2015. The Wolverines have had a year of decline in the 2020 season, posting a 2-4 record against a competition of conference only. He scored 10 wins in his 2015, 16 and 18 campaigns, but never won a Big Ten East title to reach the Big Ten Championship Game. Manuel provided an explanation behind the thinking of the sports department.
“I still believe that Jim is the right person to lead our program in pursuit of the Big Ten and the (college football playoff championships,” Manuel said. “Our program has not reached a level that everyone expected this year, but I know these setbacks will push coaches, players and staff to move forward. Jim is a tireless worker and competitor. After the end of the season, we have spoken for a lot. hours on what it will take for Jim to lead and get us back on track.
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“Jim loves the University of Michigan and this football program. He’s been engaged in this university, athletics department and football program since his days as a player and coming back in 2015 as a 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 this pursuit because it takes everyone in the same direction to have a championship level program. ”