'We need to win': Michigan AD Warde Manuel talks Jim Harbaugh contract, bouncing back in 2021
Michigan’s 2020 season is one that can be defined as unacceptable. With elite-level talent and a head coach in his sixth year with a program, the Wolverines only managed a 2-4 record and saw its final three games of the season canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
It was not a good year for one of the B1G’s perennial powers.
Still, when the season concluded, athletic director Warde Manuel felt comfortable enough with Jim Harbaugh’s success through six seasons to offer a contract extension to the head coach, keeping him in Ann Arbor for four more seasons. But don’t think expectations are changes for Michigan.
While meeting with the media on Tuesday, Manuel said the goal is still to win, and find a way to bounce back in a hurry this fall. There isn’t time for a rebuild.
“Obviously, I am willing to be patient but he and I understand that we need to win,” Manuel said, according to Zach Shaw of 247Sports. “This is Michigan, and nobody wants to win more than Jim.”
Warde Manuel said that Jim Harbaugh and Michigan aren't getting a rebuilding season or seasons:
"Obviously, I am willing to be patient but he and I understand that we need to win. … This is Michigan, and nobody wants to win more than Jim."
— Zach Shaw (@_ZachShaw) March 9, 2021
Harbaugh has compiled a 49-22 record in six seasons at Michigan, a pretty good mark over that time. But the two remaining knocks against the head coach are his lack of B1G titles and zero wins over arch rival Ohio State.
At the end of the 2020 season, there was some speculation that Harbaugh’s run in Ann Arbor might be over after such a disappointing year. However, Manuel said there was never another option on the table.
Asked Manuel if he had another plan If he and Harbaugh didn’t agree on extension: “there was no secondary plan”
— angelique (@chengelis) March 9, 2021
“There was no secondary plan,” Manuel said when asked if there was a backup option.
Michigan will now try to shake off its first losing season of the Harbaugh era by bouncing back big in 2021. With a new staff and a highly-ranked recruiting class coming in, there’s a lot of optimism about the Wolverines.