Michigan announces Jim Harbaugh as its next coach

Jim Harbaugh is officially Michigan’s new head coach.

After what has felt like months of speculation, the university formally announced Harbaugh’s hiring as the school's 20th head coach during a press conference on Tuesday.

Harbaugh replaces Brady Hoke, who was fired on Dec. 3 after four seasons with the program. During that time, Hoke amassed a 31-20 season, but was just 5-7 this season.

“I have thought about that, dreamed about that since I was a young lad, 9, 10 years old, and throughout adult life — dreamed about coaching at Michigan and now it’s time to live that,” Harbaugh said. “And I have no other words to really describe how that feels except to tell you that I have great excitement about the challenge of serving the University of Michigan as your football coach.”

Jim Harbaugh speaks to the media as he is introduced as the new football coach of the Michigan Wolverines. (USAT)
Jim Harbaugh speaks to the media as he is introduced as the new football coach of the Michigan Wolverines. (USAT)

Harbaugh spent the past four seasons as the head coach with the San Francisco 49ers. The two entities mutually agreed to part ways on Sunday. Harbaugh led the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship game appearances before struggling to an 8-8 season this year. There were rumblings about disagreements between Harbaugh and the 49ers’ management, which ultimately led to the split.

Harbaugh becomes the latest coach with Michigan ties to be hired by the program. Harbaugh played quarterback for the Wolverines for four years at Michigan from 1983-1986.

Harbaugh will make $5 million per year for seven years plus incentives. That figure is the same as what Harbaugh was making in San Francisco. Athletic director Jim Hackett said in a year he would revaluate the football program and adjust Harbaugh and his staff's pay accordingly. The base pay is far lower than the initial reports that claimed Harbaugh was in line to become college football’s highest paid coach with a six-year contract worth at least $48 million.

John U. Bacon, a Michigan blogger, tweeted Harbaugh wanted more money for his assistants instead of himself.

Upon Harbaugh’s departure from the 49ers, several other NFL teams, including the Bears, Jets and Raiders, courted the coach, but he chose to come back to Michigan. Harbaugh actually came close to taking the Michigan job in 2011, but decided to go to the 49ers instead and the Wolverines went with Hoke.

Toward the end of his press conference, Harbaugh thanked Hoke for continuing to build the foundation of the program.

“I also want to thank Brady and Laura Hoke, my very good friends, for their outstanding service at the University of Michigan,” Harbaugh said. “They have honored the University of Michigan football program and I’m pleased to have such a tremendous foundation to stand on.”

For more Michigan news, visit TheWolverine.com.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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