Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh leaving Michigan to be next Chargers head coach

Harbaugh spent the last nine seasons coaching at his alma mater Michigan.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Jim Harbaugh is heading back to the NFL.

The former Michigan Wolverines head coach reportedly will join the Los Angeles Chargers in the same role, the franchise announced Wednesday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter first broke the news, while adding Harbaugh signed a five-year deal.

"My love for Michigan, playing there and coming back to coach there, leaves a lasting impact. I'll always be a loyal Wolverine," Harbaugh said in a statement. "...When I played for the Chargers, the Spanos family could not have been more gracious or more welcoming. Being back here feels like home, and it's great to see that those things haven't changed.

"The only job you start at the top is digging a hole, so we know we've got to earn our way. Be better today than yesterday. Be better tomorrow than today. My priorities are faith, family and football, and we are going to attack each with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. This organization is putting in the work — investing capital, building infrastructure and doing everything within its power to win. Great effort equals great results, and we're just getting started."

Harbaugh, 60, helped lead his alma mater Michigan to a national championship earlier this month, the first undisputed title for the program since 1948. Over nine seasons in Ann Arbor, Harbaugh compiled an 86-25 record with three consecutive College Football Playoff appearances and wins over Ohio State to close his tenure.

Harbaugh's final year with Michigan was riddled with controversy, despite winning the national title. He served a three-game suspension at the start of the season for violating recruiting regulations. Later, the Big Ten Conference handed him another three-game suspension as part of Michigan's sign-stealing scandal.

Prior to his time at Michigan, Harbaugh coached the San Francisco 49ers for four seasons from 2011 to 2014. He led the franchise to three straight NFC title game appearances (and a Super Bowl loss to his brother John and the Baltimore Ravens) before an 8-8 season ended his time in the Bay.

Now, Harbaugh will jump back to the NFL with a Chargers team led by quarterback Justin Herbert. The 25-year-old signal caller has posted gaudy numbers over his first four seasons, but the team hasn't been able to translate that into victories. Herbert is just 30-32 as a starter with one postseason appearance.

Harbaugh has had a knack for turning teams around in quick fashion, though. Stanford won three more games in its first season under Harbaugh (2007), the 49ers had a seven-win jump in his first year (2011) and Michigan improved by five victories when he arrived (2015). Los Angeles will hope for a similar bump in 2024 after going 5-12 last season.

The partnership between Harbaugh and the Chargers also represents a reunion. The head coach played quarterback for the then-San Diego Chargers from 1999 to 2000, making the final 17 starts of his 15-year career for the Bolts.

Contact Us