The Jim Harbaugh Saga Is So Damn Annoying
I want Jim Harbaugh to be the coach of Michigan right now. If you're a Michigan fan, how can you not want that? The program has seen an incredible turnaround over the last two years following the disaster that was 2020, and he's a big reason for the turnaround. Despite the horrific end to the 2022 campaign in which Michigan lost to a much weaker TCU team in the Fiesta Bowl, Michigan finds itself in excellent standing.
They will likely be in the top five in the preseason rankings next year. They have both of their star running backs (Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards) returing, and their quarterback, J.J. McCarthy, will be back under center for the second year in a row. I want that core to return, and that includes the coach. Michigan should be in the midst of a relatively quiet off-season, considering the year they just had, but nothing is ever quiet in the Jim Harbaugh era.
Once again, he is rumored to be linked to head coaching jobs across the NFL. He's already interviewed with the Denver Broncos for their head coaching position. For the third year in a row, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel seem to be at odds regarding Harbaugh's contract, to a point where new school president Santa Ono appears to be getting involved.
My stance on Harbaugh's tenure has obviously changed over the last two years, given the program's success. They've won back-to-back Big Ten championships for the first time since 2003-2004, making the College Football Playoff in both seasons and setting a school record for wins in 2022. Last offseason as Harbaugh was flirting with going to the NFL, this time to the Minnesota Vikings, I was in the "Fine, let him leave" camp. He got over the hump one time in seven years. Part of me didn't think it was going to become a trend.
Well, it became a trend this year as Michigan had a better season than it did in 2021 and had one of the best seasons in school history. He wants to be the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten, and at this point, he deserves it. Coaches who have won way less have earned way more. Michigan can write them a blank check. They should just do it.
I understand that there's baggage that comes with Jim Harbaugh. The program is technically under investigation for some lame-ass recruiting violations, and Harbaugh may face a suspension. But you will trade the baggage to maintain Michigan's stability over the last two years. It might not always be easy, but it's worth it because beating Ohio State feels really, really good.
If you're Warde Manuel of this point, you can't let this one slip away. Since Warde Manuel became U-M's athletic director, Michigan lost the best basketball coach they've ever had in John Beilein, a man responsible for the program's resurgence. I like Juwan Howard, but that was a bizarre ending to what was a remarkable tenure in Ann Arbor. Michigan lost head baseball coach Erik Bakich, who led Michigan to their first College World Series since 1984, and they were on the verge of winning the whole thing. But baseball has never been a revenue-producing sport in Michigan. Football is the top dog, and it always will be.
It's clear that some egos are getting in the way here. I wish I had more information, but I hypothesize that Jim Harbaugh and Warde Manuel don't get along very well (doesn't take a genius to come to that conclusion.) Big whoop. Figure it out, and can we not do this shit every off-season?