Scouting Michigan: Harbaugh says he’s staying, not returning to NFL

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh says he is staying at Michigan, responding to speculation he's returning to the NFL. The former San Francisco 49ers coach tells ESPN he's not going anywhere. Fox Sports analyst Cris Carter has said Harbaugh is a potential candidate to lead Green Bay and Cleveland. Michigan won 10 games this season for the third time under Harbaugh but dropped to 0-4 against rival Ohio State. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jim Harbaugh insisted he is staying at Michigan.

Responding to speculation he’s returning to the NFL, the former San Francisco 49ers coach told ESPN he is not going anywhere.

“This is a choreographed message that comes up at this time every year before signing day,” Harbaugh told ESPN. “It’s people spreading messages to further their own personal agenda. But I’m on record right here, right now: I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying at Michigan. We have big plans here, and there’s a lot we want to accomplish.”

Former Ohio State star receiver and Fox Sports analyst Cris Carter has said Harbaugh is a potential candidate to lead the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns.

After Harbaugh and the eighth-ranked Wolverines were celebrated Sunday at a banquet, he didn’t want to discuss the topic much at a previously scheduled news conference to promote the team’s appearance in the Peach Bowl.

Why did he address it with ESPN?

“To make a statement of it, to go on record and not be asked anymore after that by people who like to yap and ask questions,” Harbaugh told reporters.

Michigan won 10 games this season for the third time under Harbaugh but dropped to 0-4 against the rival Buckeyes and fell out of the Big Ten and national championship races. The Wolverines face No. 10 Florida on Dec. 29 in the Peach Bowl.

Harbaugh, who is 38-13 at Michigan, is in the fourth year of a seven-year contract with a compensation package that gives him more than $7 million per year. He returned nearly four years ago to the school where he was a star quarterback after going 44-19-1 with the 49ers, winning the 2012 NFC championship.

“I’m so happy that he’s our coach,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said. “And I look forward to him coaching, as I said before, until he retires from Michigan and ends his career here.”

Manuel said it is a credit to Harbaugh that his name is often mentioned to fill openings in the NFL.

“Jim is one of the greatest coaches — college or pro,” Manuel said.

Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson said he hasn’t thought about whether he will stay in school or pro, adding he plans to talk about his future with Harbaugh and his family.


  1. Interesting story — yawn — but it doesn’t really make any difference whether he stays at Michigan, goes back to the NFL, or even throws his hat in the ring for the next Vatican election. He is no doubt a “good” coach in the Mark Richt tradition at Georgia, but Michigan is Michigan and they will always have a good coach (except for when they don’t).

    Truthfully, Harbaugh has a touch of arrogance and presumption that may set him up for a big fall in the Peach Bowl. Depending on which Gators team shows up of course, but I’m betting it’s not the one Michigan is either expecting or hoping for — what a letdown it must be for a legend-in-his-own-mind to have to play the likes of Florida — gee, all they have to do is warm up and we’ll probably be too afraid to even come out of the locker room!

    • Well said, and I love the sarcasm, Gator-6. But truthfully, our Florida Gators have NEVER, EVER beaten Michigan Football. So whether Coach Jim Harbaugh’s staying or leaving, it’s past time for the Florida Gators to chomp down on some Wolverine meat! Go Gators!

      • GI et al: And THAT is one of the great mysteries of our time, even more puzzling than whether or not there is life on other planets. It has been proven over and over again that the SEC takes a backseat to no conference — especially the BIG10 — and Florida itself proved that in its demolition of supposedly the greatest college football team ever assembled in one of the Gator’s runs to a National Championship. But as 65 himself says below, there’s a new kid in town now…..Dan Mullen.

        I predict that Florida’s victory this year in the Peach Bowl will usher in the dawn of a new age where peace, harmony, and good will thereafter reign. Put differently, the Wicked Witch will be dead. Hell, on the 8th day God didn’t create Gators for nothing, did He?

        • It’s really just luck and timing. We have never beat Michigan, and we have never lost to Ohio State. We rarely play either team. We just happened to play Michigan at times when we were weak and Ohio State at times when we were strong. If we played both teams regularly it would likely be more even over the last 40 years, probably actually in Florida’s favor, but not in Florida’s favor at all in the decades before that.

          It is still early in our comeback under Mullen, his first season, and we overachieved. So on paper things are definitely in Michigan’s favor again here. They should win, but I’m hopeful of course. With Mullen coaching I think we have a chance, and I wouldn’t have said that under the previous two. I’m looking forward to enjoying a good game. If we lose it has still been a good season; if we win it’s a bonus to cap off the good season (as long as we put up a good fight).

      • GI that bugs me. I was at some of those games. We were out coached in three of them. I won’t be happy ’til the balance is swayed in our favor. But it starts with one win. If we have to meet them every so many years to right the balance so be it. Leave them in the wake of our Gator Tail. After that tail smacked them a few times.

    • The Gators are due in this series. For the first time in 5 tries, we catch Michigan on the mental downswing as we’re on the upswing. Huge psychological advantage to the Gators.

      The other 4 times the Gators faced the Wolverines were:

      Jan 2003 – End of Zook’s 1st season (Gators were down)
      Jan 2008 – End of Meyer’s 2nd season ((Gators were down)
      Jan 2016 – End of McElwaine’s 1st season (Gators were down)
      Sep 2017 – Opening game of a disaster season (Gators were WAY down)

      With the beat-down the Gators just gave the semis, the effect of a full season in the Savage strength and conditioning program and chips on the Gators’ shoulders the size of 2x4s, something tells me Michigan won’t be pushing us around this time as they did the last 2 times under McElwayne.

      Go Gators!!!

        • Those are great assessments StLGator & 76gator. In bowl games you must look for the team with the most incentive & excitement to be there. I live in Michigan & so I feel these MSU & UM losses even more than most Gator fans do. In 2008, the Wolverines finally got healthy & wanted to win for Carr. The Gators were 1 year removed from playing/winning the national championship. The Outback Bowl was a “letdown” in comparison. Now I am concerned which Florida team decides to play on 12/29/2018. FSU helped us “demolish” them. I hope we don’t have the Missouri/ 1st 2/3 of the game vs. South Carolina Gators show up! We definitely have more incentive to play well.

  2. Harbaugh and meatchicken were disappointed last New Years day that they had to play lowly Muschamp and his USCe gamecocks in the Outback bowl. Then proceeded to get their azzes beat after running up a 19-3 lead then lost 26-19. It was hilarious to hear the UM fans leaving Raymond James beotching their heads off.

  3. Here’s a recruiting bonanza: Congratulations to my home town team, the Lakeland Dreadnaughts and Coach Bill Castle who won the high school state championship in Division 4 again this weekend. They were undefeated all year and annihilated St. Thomas Acquinas in the championship. I hope we recruit the heck out of Lakeland’s 5 and 4 star recruits.
    Remember the Lakeland Gator Naught class of the Pouncey twins and Chris Rainey? Along with Tebow, they led us to the National Championship.

  4. Harbaugh would be nuts to leave for the NFL. He’s been there and done that and has not completed his mission at Michigan. Besides, as someone with a reputation for being abrasive, if he’s found a place where they embrace him, he should retire there.

    As for the 0-4 record versus Michigan, it only matters in the sense it might give our guys some extra motivation to go out and do something no Florida team have ever done! Make history, men! Make history!

    • Why in the world would Harbaugh leave Michigan now??? His nemesis Meyer is GONE and Ohio State will be in disarray. So, he’ll get no better chance to finally get THAT monkey off his back and win the Big 10 title.

      Such a move would make no sense at all.

      Go Gators!!!

    • Technically he hasn’t completed his mission in the NFL either, as a player or a coach, and reaching the top at that level trumps anything he’ll do at Michigan. He got to the Super Bowl and won NFL coach of the year, so he knows he has the ability to coach at that level. Seeing his brother with a Super Bowl ring and winning it at his expense has to eat at his competitive nature. He may not go this year, but there’s no doubt he’s going to wind up back there eventually. If he loses to OSU next season, you may wind up seeing it sooner than later.

    • Completing all missions isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I completed every one of mine, and now I’m an old man, wistfully whittling away time on a Gator blog, trying to remember to keep my zipper up, and once in a while recapturing a brief glimpse of my otherwise callow youth when men were men and the sheep were nervous.

      And I defy Jaws to beat that prose if not word picture!

      • I have a good friend from Montana who says that’s the place “where men are men and sheep are nervous!”

        He also says older generations of Montanans are even tougher. The story goes that his grandmother used to hunt bears by walking up to them, waiting till they roared at her, then reaching down their throats, grabbing their tails and pulling them inside out!

        Now, THAT’s tough!!!

        You’re not originally from Montana, are you 6???


        • I can only say that I’d hate to meet that grandmother in a dark ally, armed or not!

          By accident of birth, I was born under the shadow of Iron Mike at Ft Benning, Ga — but didn’t have to claim Georgia citizenship since it’s a federal reservation. My family is all from Florida, predominantly from Avon Park and other non-distinct parts up and down Highway 27. So no, not from Montana — but given enough time and a 1:100000 map, I’m sure I could find it 3 out of 4 times! How about you?

          • No, I’m not from Montana! Just my buddy, the construction superintendent.

            I’m originally from the Miami area. My whole family still lives there. Moved to St. Louis after UF. Been living in St. Louis most of the time since 1980. Still manage to attend at least one game at the Swamp every year.

          • Best years of my life spent at Ft Leavenworth on the other side of Mo, but really like the St Louis area too. Retired Army in Texas (Ft Hood), and my plan was to attend the Spring Game and at least one fall game this year — but for a slight medical mishap would’ve done it too.
            We’ve got Gators in Dallas and Houston, Knoxville Tennessee, Nashville, all over North Carolina, and even in New Jersey, another in Baton Rouge….we ought to decide on which game and all descend on the Swamp at the same time. Man, would that be a blast or what? Jaws himself might even make that one with enough notice, and Gator65 lives just up the road in Ocala anyway. Call it the Wayward Gators Homecoming or something……

          • LOL! Wayward Gators Homecoming has a nice ring to it. Sorry to hear about the medical setback. Hopefully, it’s behind you.

            I already have plans to be at the opening game vs. the Canes, but that one is not in the Swamp. The official Homecoming game next season is vs. Vandy. Maybe we can converge on that one.

            I certainly wouldn’t mind going to two games next year. Something tells me the Gators will be even more fun to watch by then.

            Go Gators!!!

          • 6…… your faithful Knoxville representative would be all in on that. Rog never met a road trip he didn’t like 🙂

    • And a Gator in Muskegon, Michigan! I have, unfortunately, driven to Arlington, TX & Fayettville, AR in recent years & seen dismal performances. Fortunately, I am undefeated at Lexington, KY (although we “stole” the last game I saw there) & Vanderbilt. Plan on driving to Columbia, Missouri next year (although for reasons unknown Missouri has seemingly owned us almost as much as Michigan!?!?). Even an ill-fated trip to SEC Tourney last March in St. Louis turned out to be very disappointing! But proud to wear the Orange & Blue!

      • I too have already looked at next year’s schedule trying to figure out a game or two to see. I’ve been thinking about the Miami game and going to Death Valley in Baton Rouge is on my bucket list. Plenty of time to decide. But if 6 has us meeting in the Swamp……I’m in.