Warde Manuel shares perspective on looming decision for Jim Harbaugh
Warde Manuel understands the NFL might come calling for Jim Harbaugh, but Michigan’s AD still hopes the head coach remains in Ann Arbor.
Monday night, Michigan hoisted the College Football Playoff Trophy as national champions. However, it did not take long after the confetti hit the turf in NRG Stadium for the thoughts of some to turn to a potential exit for Harbaugh.
Prior to the game, there were reports of “mutual interest” between Harbaugh and the Las Vegas Raiders for the franchise’s head coaching vacancy. Harbaugh also has an interest in the Los Angeles Chargers’ vacancy per other reports.
While the Wolverines celebrate their title, Manuel was asked about Harbaugh potentially leaving Michigan for the NFL on the heels of the national title. Manuel admitted he would understand and “be happy” for Harbaugh if he leaves for the NFL but would still be “sad for us.”
If Harbaugh leaves, Manuel says the program will move forward to find the right person to coach but he absolutely wants Harbaugh to remain with the Wolverines. Here’s what Manuel had to say about Harbaugh’s future:
“He’s always going to be somebody I’m proud of who coached at the University of Michigan, who led this team. And if he decides that he wants another opportunity to coach in the pros, then I’m going to be happy for him. Sad for us. We’re going to move on and find the next person to (coach). But I want him to stay at Michigan. I’ve said it. I believed it three, four years ago when people wanted me to get rid of him. I didn’t because I believed it then and I believe it now.”
Since coming to Michigan ahead of the 2015 season, Harbaugh has embarked on a successful 9-year tenure, punctuated by 3 straight trips to the Playoff and Monday’s national title. He is fourth on the program’s all-time wins list with 89 victories, and just produced the first national title since Lloyd Carr’s 1997 team went 12-0.
It’s possible Harbaugh views his work in Ann Arbor as complete. Or, he could opt to stick to being the ultimate “Michigan Man” moving forward. Stay tuned.