Jim Harbaugh decides to stay at Michigan following interviews with Minnesota Vikings
February 4, 2022
Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reportedly will continue his tenure in Michigan despite reports that linked him to the Minnesota Vikings job.
ESPN first reported that the Wolverines were informed that Harbaugh would stay. Ward Manuel, the athletic director, told him that Harbaugh would stay as long as the team wanted.
A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed that the 9-hour long interview between Harbaugh and the Vikings on Wednesday did not involve an offer to Harbaugh.
In the meantime, Harbaugh plans on returning to Ann Arbor for another season. "With an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!" Harbaugh stated.
The Vikings fired head coach Mike Zimmer after the team's disappointing season. They also released general manager Rick Spielman and replaced him with former VP of Cleveland Browns football operations, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah.
The Vikings also informed the other finalists, namely Patrick Graham and Raheem Morris, that they would not be getting the job. The Vikings are targeting Kevin O'Connell of the Los Angeles Rams for the head coach job.
Harbaugh's decision to stay at Michigan
The timing of his interview with the Vikings was odd since it coincided with the start of the National Signing Day for high school football recruits. Usually, college football programs are busy managing which high school prospect to land during that period, but Harbaugh flew to Minnesota to have another job interview.
The Wolverines are focused on winning the 2022 season and avoiding any issues arising from Harbaugh's decision to entertain Vikings' job opening.
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel expressed his gratitude on Harbaugh's return to Michigan, "I'm very happy."
Harbaugh was considered the best coach in college football when he came back to Michigan in late 2014. His honeymoon period with the fans and the school's winningest program seemed to wane after he returned.
Harbaugh returned to Ann Arbor after four years as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. His task was to restore the Wolverines' football program, which had been in a long stretch of mediocrity.
In his first two seasons, the Wolverines won 10 games and finished in third place in the Big Ten East. However, they lost to rival Ohio State both times.
After winning eight games in their 2017 season, the Wolverines went back to winning 10 in 2018. They, again, lost to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
In 2019, the Wolverines finished third in the Big Ten East but lost to Ohio State in the conference title game. Following that season, they went 2-4 in the conference during the 2020 season.
After starting the 2021 season with a 7-0 record, the Wolverines went on to defeat Ohio State 42-27 for the first time since Harbaugh's head coach era. They then went on to destroy Iowa 42-3 in the Big Ten title game.
Despite losing to Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals, Harbaugh was still very optimistic about the future of the Wolverines.
Harbaugh noted that it was an excellent season for Michigan football. He was incredibly proud of the way the team kept fighting all season.
"To me, it's one of the best seasons in Michigan football history. We were trying to make it greater tonight, but it was still a great season. Proud of them, the way they kept fighting. Ton of resolve with this football team. To me, it feels like a start. It feels like a beginning," said Harbaugh.