As his team prepares for its second appearance in the College Football Playoff, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is once again answering questions about his future.
Asked on Sunday about NFL teams potentially vetting him for job openings this offseason, Harbaugh said he doesn’t have a crystal ball, but that he will be back coaching the Wolverines in 2023.
“That time of the year type of speculation, but I think no man knows the future,” Harbaugh said. “But I think that people that think we’ve done a good job and are pleased with the job that we’ve done here at Michigan, they’re going to be very happy to learn that we will be back enthusiastically coaching the Wolverines in 2023. And for those people that don’t approve of the job we’ve done or would rather see somebody else coaching here, I think they’ll be most likely disappointed to learn we’ll be back coaching the Wolverines and in 2023.”
Harbaugh had flirted with NFL jobs after the 2021 season, interviewing with the Minnesota Vikings. Harbaugh told the Detroit Free Press at the time that he called athletic director Warde Manuel after the interview and asked him whether he wanted Harbaugh to be the coach.
“He said, ‘Yes 100 percent.’ And I said, ‘OK then. That’s what I want to do,'” Harbaugh told the Free Press. “And I told him, ‘Warde, this will not be a reoccurring theme every year. This was a one time thing.”
Harbaugh went on to say in February that he was working at the pleasure of the University of Michigan, because that was where he wanted to be. A source told ESPN’s Courtney Cronin at the time that the Vikings did not offer Harbaugh the job before he left the facilities.
Harbaugh then said in a September interview with ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski that he doesn’t apologize for taking a look at the NFL.
“And the one that doesn’t get printed is, I don’t apologize for wanting to be at Michigan,” Harbaugh said. “Seem to cut off that last part of it. And that’s where [I’m] at, happy as can be.”
He did say, however, when talking to Wojciechowski that coming close to a Super Bowl win during his San Francisco 49ers tenure did drive him to look at the NFL because of unfinished business. He followed that by saying winning a national championship would also be something he could live with.
Harbaugh’s Wolverines made it to the College Football Playoff in the 2021 season, losing to Georgia in the semifinal, and are back in the playoffs in 2022. No. 2 Michigan will play No. 3 TCU in the VRBO Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31 in Arizona.
Harbaugh brought the conversation back to the game while talking to reporters Sunday, but asked whether he felt it necessary to clarify his status and potential interest from NFL teams because of the effect it could have on recruiting, Harbaugh quipped about other coaches in the Big Ten.
“It’s really biblical, no man knows the future. I can’t make vows of what’s going to happen or what’s not going to happen,” Harbaugh said. “If you don’t mind, I ask you a question. I mean, there’s tremendous coaches right here in our league: Ryan Day, Greg Schiano, Bret Bielema, Jeff Brohm. I could go on and on, P.J. Fleck.
“I think, the job that they’ve done, they deserve to be asked the same question.”