Michigan and Jim Harbow are approaching a five-year extension with a lower base salary but serious incentives. If Wolverines had to reach certain championship standards, he could get back most of the eight million dollars he had pledged this season.
Two sources said it appears Harbo will remain as head coach, but the deal has not been finalized or signed. Both said the agreement could be finalized in the next few days.
The presented contract contains serious incentives for winning the Big Ten Eastern Division, championship of the Big Ten, reaching the national playoffs and winning a national championship. There is also a smaller purchase if UM decides to fire Harbaugh.
Harbo entered the 2020 season as the only FBS coach with less than two years left under his contract, which was to expire after the 2021 season. Harbo trained for six seasons at his alma mater.
He and athletic director Ward Manuel began discussions about their future with the Werewolves on December 17. Shortly after that initial meeting, Michigan parted ways with defensive coordinator Don Brown on Dec. 22 after five seasons. It is not clear what other changes Harbaugh can make to staff. Six of his aides have contracts expiring on Monday – Jay Harbo, Mike Zordich, Sean Noah, Ed Wariner, Sharon Moore and Ben McDaniels.
Harbaugh and several of his players struggled to play in 2020 amid the shortened COVID-19 season of Big Ten. But the season they wanted did not go as they had hoped. The Werewolves come out of an endless 2-4 season that includes a loss to heavyweight outsider Michigan State and a comeback victory in the Rutgers’ triple overtime.
As Michigan coach, Harbaugh was unbeaten in five games against arch-rivals from Ohio and was 3-3 against Michigan State. The werewolves are 2-12 against the top 10 teams. Michigan under Harbaugh ran 49-22 in six seasons and 34-16 in the Big Ten.