Michigan has hired Jim Harbaugh to be its next football coach, ending a nearly month-long search for the next person to lead college football winningest program through tumultuous times, the school announced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Harbaugh, who parted ways with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers Monday morning after four seasons in the Bay Area, has signed an agreement that will $35 million, seven-year contract, interim athletic director, Jim Hackett, confirmed to reporters.
"Throughout my life, I have dreamed of coaching at the University of Michigan. Now I have the honor to live it," Harbaugh told a room full of reporters.
Perhaps best known for a fiery, deeply-competitive and ultra-intense personality that's made him a divisive figure in sports — be in the NFL or the college game — Harbaugh is expected to usher in a new era in Ann Arbor and breathe life back into an organization that hasn't won a Big Ten title in a decade.
While in San Francisco, Harbaugh led the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance, two NFC Championship Games and a 44-19 record in four seasons. Before that, Harbaugh coached Stanford from 2007-2010, where he helped build the Cardinal into a Pac-12 football power. He won the Orange Bowl in his final season.
Harbaugh played quarterback at Michigan in the mid 1980s before playing 14 years in the NFL, notably the Chicago Bears. He went 2–0 against Ohio State, leading the Wolverines to a 27–17 victory in 1985, and then a 26–24 road win at Ohio Stadium as a senior in 1986, days after guaranteeing Michigan would win and earn a trip to the 1987 Rose Bowl.
Upon firing former coach Brady Hoke earlier this month, Hackett said the school needed to do away with the idea of hiring a "Michigan Man."
"If you let it stand for what it’s supposed to mean, here’s what it means: If you cut open the soul of the people that are ‘Michigan Men,’ so to speak, you find first selflessness. This was a point about how we stand for the team first. The second thing is the ability to win, be competitive. The competitive spirit in my lifetime and with others that you see around here that played, we knew that we had to work really hard. It wasn’t arrogance; it was about being competitive."
In hiring Harbaugh, a son of Michigan, the Wolverines seem to have gotten someone who can fulfill the lofty expectations associated with the storied program.