Jim Harbaugh leaving Michigan to become head coach of Los Angeles Chargers

Jim Harbaugh helped Michigan win the Rose Bowl in Pasadena before leading the Wolverines to the national championship. It turns out Harbaugh should’ve also been looking for real estate while he was in Southern California.

Harbaugh has agreed to a deal to become the Los Angeles Chargers' head coach, the team announced Wednesday night.

ESPN was the first to report the news.

The deal officially marks Harbaugh’s much-anticipated return to the NFL.

Harbaugh spent the past nine years with the Wolverines, compiling an 89-25 record in that span. His time at Michigan didn’t come without controversy. Harbaugh was suspended by the school for the first three games of the 2023 season because of a recruiting violation and subsequent failure to cooperate with an NCAA investigation. He was then suspended for Michigan's final three regular-season games by the Big Ten for alleged sign stealing.

Despite the rocky 2023 season, Harbaugh led Michigan, his alma mater, to its first national title since 1997.

Jim Harbaugh is leaving Michigan to become head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Jim Harbaugh is leaving Michigan to become head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.

"Jim Harbaugh is football personified, and I can think of no one better to lead the Chargers forward," team owner Dean Spanos said in a statement. "The son of a coach, brother of a coach and father of a coach who himself was coached by names like (Bo) Schembechler and (Mike) Ditka, for the past two decades Jim has led hundreds of men to success everywhere he's been — as their coach. And today, Jim Harbaugh returns to the Chargers, this time as our coach. Who has it better than us?"

Prior to becoming Michigan’s head coach, Harbaugh led the San Francisco 49ers for four seasons. He produced a 44-19-1 record and led San Francisco to an appearance in Super Bowl 47. He has also had coaching stints at the University of San Diego and Stanford University.

"You don't build a resume like Jim's by accident, and you don't do it by yourself. You need a team. And nobody has built a team more successfully, and repeatedly, in recent history than Jim Harbaugh," John Spanos, the Chargers' president of football operations, said in a statement. "His former players swear by him, and his opponents swear at him. Jim is one of one, and we couldn't be more excited to have him back in the Chargers organization as our head coach."  

Harbaugh played in the NFL for 15 years before he transitioned to the sidelines. The quarterback spent his final two playing years in the league with the then-San Diego Chargers, in 1999 and 2000.

"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. "I'm remarkably fortunate to have been afforded the privilege of coaching at places where life's journey has created strong personal connections for me. From working as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky alongside my father, Jack, and time as an assistant with the Raiders, to being a head coach at USD, Stanford, the 49ers and Michigan — each of those opportunities carried significance, each felt personal. 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."

The Chargers interviewed several candidates after they fired head coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco on Dec. 15.

Harbaugh has been a hot coaching candidate in recent years. He flirted with returning to the NFL the last two years. But it is the Chargers who were able to lure Harbaugh away from Michigan and back to the NFL.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Tyler Dragon on X @TheTylerDragon.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jim Harbaugh leaving Michigan to become coach of Chargers