Jim Harbaugh is officially headed back to the NFL, accepting the head coaching job with the Los Angeles Chargers. Harbaugh is just a couple weeks removed from leading Michigan, his alma mater, to the 2024 CFP National Championship title in his ninth season at the helm.
“Jim Harbaugh is football personified, and I can think of no one better to lead the Chargers forward,” said Chargers owner Dean Spanos. “The son of a coach, brother of a coach and father of a coach who himself was coached by names like Schembechler and Ditka, for the past two decades Jim has led hundreds of men to success everywhere he’s been — as their coach. And today, Jim Harbaugh returns to the Chargers, this time as our coach. Who has it better than us?”
Harbaugh had been in negotiations with Michigan to stay – and potentially become the highest-paid head coach in college football – but ultimately the opportunity to chase a Super Bowl ring was something that he just couldn’t get in Ann Arbor. He was previously the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers for four seasons, making the Playoffs three times and famously coached against his brother, John, in Super Bowl XLVII (which the Ravens won). Jim has accomplished a great deal during his coaching career, but getting another crack at the Big One is what currently drives him.
“My love for Michigan, playing there and coming back to coach there, leaves a lasting impact. I’ll always be a loyal Wolverine,” Harbaugh said. “I’m remarkably fortunate to have been afforded the privilege of coaching at places where life’s journey has created strong personal connections for me. From working as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky alongside my father, Jack, and time as an assistant with the Raiders, to being a head coach at USD, Stanford, the 49ers and Michigan — each of those opportunities carried significance, each felt personal. When I played for the Chargers, the Spanos family could not have been more gracious or more welcoming. Being back here feels like home, and it’s great to see that those things haven’t changed. The only job you start at the top is digging a hole, so we know we’ve got to earn our way. Be better today than yesterday. Be better tomorrow than today. My priorities are faith, family and football, and we are going to attack each with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. This organization is putting in the work — investing capital, building infrastructure and doing everything within its power to win. Great effort equals great results, and we’re just getting started.”
Rumors of a move to the NFL have been swirling for awhile, throughout a 2023 season that was at times tumultuous for the coach and program. Harbaugh was scheduled to interview for the Atlanta Falcons vacancy on Thursday, but the Chargers got a five-year deal done before he had a chance to leave Southern California. He will be in the AFC with his brother, so the highest stakes Harbaugh v Harbaugh game for now would be in the conference final.
credit to NFL/Los Angeles Chargers for the image