Jim Harbaugh hired by Chargers: How ex-Michigan coach went from hot seat to coveted national title winner

Jim Harbaugh’s time at Michigan is over. After almost a decade of leading his alma mater, the former Wolverines quarterback is off to the NFL again to take on a new challenge with the Los Angeles Chargers. 

He’s leaving Michigan in a much better spot than he found it. After years of steady buildup, Harbaugh led Michigan to its first national title in almost three decades by downing Washington in the College Football Playoff National Championship. This latest step is the culmination of three straight Big Ten titles and CFP appearances. 

Harbaugh leaves with an 89-25 record overall with an even more impressive 60-17 showing in Big Ten play. Michigan didn’t lose a single regular-season game in his final two years at the helm, and he became the first UM coach since Lloyd Carr in 1995-97 to win at least three straight games against Ohio State. 

But Harbaugh’s tenure wasn’t filled with exclusively highlights. There was a time, though it seems like alternate history at this point, when a large section of Michigan fans were calling for his job. The Wolverines were embroiled in two scandals during the same calendar year to put them under the NCAA’s microscope. 

With Harbaugh’s time at Michigan now at an end, it felt appropriate to trace Michigan’s journey under its enigmatic and now former coach dating back to the 2020 season when the national title-winning coach nearly lost his job. Though Harbaugh was in Ann Arbor for nine years, the last four were by the far the most eventful. 

Harbaugh on the hot seat 

Fall 2020: Despite three 10-win seasons in his first four years back at Michigan, the Wolverines repeatedly failed to beat Ohio State and make the the Big Ten Championship Game, a dry streak that extended through the first six years of Harbaugh’s tenure. The program hit a new low during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, posting a 2-4 record and going winless at home for the first time…


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