Warde Manuel says Jim Harbaugh contract extension ‘not a short-term play’

The news was made official earlier this year, as the University of Michigan inked head coach Jim Harbaugh to a contract extension that runs through 2025, albeit at a reduced price tag that now ranks Harbaugh amongst the bottom half of Big Ten coaches in annual salary.

This comes on the heels of a disappointing 2-4 shortened campaign in 2020, bringing Harbaugh's record to 49-22 since returning to the University as head coach in 2015, and 11-8 over the past two years.

And judging by Athletic Director Warde Manuel‘s comments earlier today, Harbaugh could be sticking around Ann Arbor far beyond that.

While speaking Tuesday afternoon, Manuel indicated that he's willing to be patient for Harbaugh to get the Wolverines back on track.

“Given the contract, obviously, I am willing to be patient, but he and I understand that we need to win,” Manuel said Tuesday. “This is Michigan. Nobody wants to win more than Jim in football and me overall. We want success. And so did I put a number to his first year? The answer is no. I want him to move forward and build this and continue to drive us to have success in football.”

There have already been several changes to Harbaugh's staff, as defensive coordinator Don Brown departed Ann Arbor and was replaced by Mike Macdonald, who coached with the Baltimore Ravens and John Harbaugh. There are a total of six new assistant coaches on Harbaugh's staff, including Michigan legend Mike Hart.

“He’s always, as you all know, thinking about how the team can be better no matter what the outcome of the seasons and so I think you saw some of the changes in staff and some of the changes he’s doing there,” Manuel said. “Very proud of the work he’s been doing with the staff he’s put together, some new and some consistent. I’m excited about it.”

Was there ever a Plan B for Manuel to go in a different direction other than retaining Harbaugh?

“No, I didn’t have a backup plan,” Manuel said. “After the season, we had a great conversation and talked through things. There was no secondary plan, in case whatever reason that conversation didn’t go well either from his perspective or my perspective.”

– – Quotes via Orion Sang of The Detroit Free Press Link – –