Michigan has once again made Jim Harbaugh one of the highest paid coaches in college football.
Harbaugh’s reworked five-year contract with the school, obtained Thursday through a records request, runs through the 2026 season and guarantees he will make more than $7 million annually.
Harbaugh’s salary starts at $7.05 million next season and goes up each subsequent year.
If the Wolverines repeat as Big Ten champions in 2022 and go back to the College Football Playoff, Harbaugh would make $2 million in performance bonuses. Harbaugh would earn another $1 million bonus if he can lead the school to its first national title since 1997.
Harbaugh’s contract also includes the university contributing $1 million per year to his retirement plan.
Over the length of the deal, Harbaugh’s average annual salary will be more than $7.334 million. Along with the yearly retirement plan contribution, Harbaugh’s annual compensation of more than $8 million per year brings him back up to about what he was making before he took a pay cut to $4 million after the 2020 season.
The deal moves Harbaugh back among the highest paid coaches in the country, though it is half the length of recent extensions signed by Big Ten rivals Mel Tucker of Michigan State (10 years, $95 million) and James Franklin of Penn State (10 years, $85 million).
The announcement of the new deal was made two weeks after Harbaugh interviewed for the coaching vacancy with the Minnesota Vikings.
If Harbaugh were to leave Michigan after next season, he would owe the school $3 million. His buyout drops to $2.25 million after the 2023 season and $1.5 after 2024. After the 2025 season, Harbaugh would owe Michigan $750,000 if he left.
If Michigan were to fire Harbaugh without cause during the length of the contract, the school would be obligated to pay off the remainder of its value — though that amount could be mitigated if Harbaugh takes another NFL or college coaching job.
“My family and I are excited to continue leading this football program, and we are thankful for the support that our athletic department and university administration have demonstrated toward the team,” Harbaugh said Wednesday in a statement. “I appreciate all that our players, coaches and staff are doing to excel on and off the football field. My enthusiasm for tomorrow, the day after and every day following is as high as ever, and we are ready to get on the practice field and start preparations for the 2022 season. Go Blue!”
Harbaugh agreed to a pay cut last January after the Wolverines went 2-4 in the pandemic-abbreviated 2020 season. Michigan bounced back in 2021, winning the Big Ten for the first time since 2004 and earning the school’s first bid to the College Football Playoff.
“Last season, Jim along with the staff and players delivered a memorable season that will remain with all of us for a long time.” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said. “I have the utmost confidence in the direction of the program under Jim’s leadership.”
The Wolverines (12-2) snapped a eight-game losing streak to Ohio State along the way before losing to eventual national champion Georgia in the Orange Bowl.
Harbaugh is 61-24 with four double-digit win seasons in seven years at his alma mater.
AP College Football Writer Ralph Russo contributed.