Jim Harbaugh, a star quarterback at Michigan in the mid-1980s, returned to his alma mater ahead of the 2015 season to become the 6th former Michigan football player to be named the leader of college football’s winningest program.
Harbaugh came to Michigan after 4 seasons as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, which featured 3-straight NFC Championship Game berths, and a 2013 Super Bowl appearance against his brother John, who coached the Baltimore Ravens.
He has led Michigan to 5 10-win seasons and 7 bowl games, including the 2021 and 2022 College Football Playoff semifinals, 2 New Year’s Six bowls and 3 additional New Year’s Day bowl games.
Fifteen Wolverines have earned All-America honors under Harbaugh, including 8 consensus honorees: Blake Corum, Devin Bush, Jake Butt, Maurice Hurst, Aidan Hutchinson, Jourdan Lewis, Jake Moody and Jabrill Peppers. Hutchinson (second place, 2021) and Peppers (fifth place, 2016) were also Heisman Trophy finalists.
Harbaugh’s teams at Michigan have finished each season ranked in the national polls, including a No. 4 ranking at the end of the 2021 season, and a No. 3 ranking at the end of the 2022 season following the program’s B1G Championships. The program has finished top-15 in 5 of Harbaugh’s 8 seasons with 3 top-10 finishes overall. Under Harbaugh, Michigan has produced 3 of the 5 most productive offensive seasons in school history. UM has had a top-12 national defense in 6 seasons and a top-3 unit on 3 occasions.
Before the 49ers, Harbaugh turned around a Stanford program that went 1-11 prior to his arrival, and the Cardinal improved each of his 4 seasons, capped with a 12-1 campaign and Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech in 2010. Harbaugh finished his tenure at Stanford with a 29-21 overall record and 21-15 mark in Pac-10 Conference play.
In his first head coaching experience, Harbaugh led the University of San Diego to a 29-6 record during his 3 seasons directing the program, including a first-year record of 7-4 record after a 5-0 start.
In the NFL, Harbaugh played for 5 different organizations during his 15-year career (1987-2001).
As a collegiate player, Harbaugh was one of the most efficient passers in NCAA history. In 1985, he led the nation in pass efficiency and finished as the runner-up in 1986 when he also earned first-team All-America honors and finished third in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy.
Harbaugh was the first Michigan quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in a single game (310 vs. Wisconsin) and eclipsed the 200-yard passing mark 12 times. He led the Wolverines to a 21-3-1 record as a full-time starter during his final 2 seasons, including a pair of victories against rivals Michigan State and Ohio State.
Harbaugh has one of the more unique personalities in college football, and often uses his trademark phrase about attacking something with an “enthusiasm unknown to mankind.” He has several acting credits, including an appearance on “Saved By the Bell: The New Class” in 1994, a 1993 episode of the Western-comedy “Brisco County, Jr.” starring Michigan-native Bruce Campbell, in an episode that also featured Terry Bradshaw, Ken Norton Jr. and Carl Banks. Harbaugh also starred as himself in a 1997 episode of “Arli$$.”
Harbaugh is part of a well-known coaching family that includes his father Jack, who coached more than 4 decades at the high school and college levels. John is still the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. Harbaugh’s sister, Joani, is married to former college basketball coach Tom Crean.
Jim Harbaugh Coaching Experience
- 1994-2001: Western Kentucky — Volunteer assistant coach
- 2002-03: Oakland Raiders — Quarterbacks coach
- 2004-06: San Diego — Head coach
- 2007-10: Stanford — Head coach
- 2011-14: San Francisco 49ers — Head coach
- 2015-present: Michigan — Head coach
Head coaching record
- San Diego (5 seasons): 29-6
- Stanford (4 seasons): 29-21
- San Francisco 49ers (4 seasons): 49-22-1
- Michigan (9 seasons): 74-25 (52-17 in B1G play)
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