Michigan AD Warde Manuel: Goal for Jim Harbaugh, Wolverines still to win rivalry games, B1G titles
Expectations in Ann Arbor aren’t going to drop. Despite Michigan’s lack of success against Ohio State and its inability to win a B1G title so far under Jim Harbaugh, athletic director Warde Manuel says the goal is still to reach those heights.
Michigan recently offered Harbaugh a four-year extension to remain the head coach of the program, keeping him in Ann Arbor through the 2025 season. After a 2-4 season in 2020, an 0-5 record against Ohio State (“The Game” was canceled this year due to COVID-19 issues) and no trips to Indianapolis, some thought it might be the end of the road for Harbaugh.
And while Harbaugh has been largely successful in terms of winning percentage and postseason trips during his six seasons leading the Wolverines, he’s fallen short in rivalry games and in winning the B1G East. But the bar isn’t going to lower.
“He understands that and believes that as well,” Manuel told Jon Jansen on the In the Trenches podcast. “As a former captain and quarterback here, he knows exactly the expectations of Michigan and Michigan football, and the things that are expected in terms of success. I’m looking forward to his leadership for years to come.
“The goal here is to win those rivalry games and win the Big Ten. That is not going to change, and that quest continues. I believe in this staff, I believe in Jim as the leader of this program, and I believe in this staff that he’s put together. We need to continue to have that focus. We need to have that focus in the weight room, in spring ball, in offseason workouts, (and) when we come into fall. And we need to make sure that we’re putting them — and coaching them — in the right positions to win.”
In six seasons at Michigan, Harbaugh has compiled a 49-22 record with a 34-16 mark in B1G play. He’s led the Wolverines to five bowl games, had three 10-win seasons with only one losing season (2020).
But without a win over the Buckeyes and a B1G East title to his name, there’s going to continue to be the concern that Harbaugh can’t win at a high level. And even though he received a contract extension from U-M, the pressure will be on the head coach to win “The Game” and a B1G title in 2021.
Or at least show drastic improvement from last year’s 2-4 campaign.