Jim Harbaugh was hired in 2015 with the hope he could bring Michigan football back to the top where it had been for so long. He was tabbed as the savior for the Wolverines’ football once the maize and blue let Brady Hoke walk after a 2014 campaign with no bowl game.
From 2015-to-2019 Michigan had three 10-win seasons, and the Wolverines were once again relevant again. After a 2-4 COVID-19 campaign in 2020, however, pundits called for Harbaugh’s job.
Instead, the Wolverines brought Harbaugh back, but they brought him back with a decrease in salary.
Now, after Harbaugh helped Michigan win 12 games in 2021, beating Ohio State, and defeating Iowa handily in the Big Ten Championship game, Harbaugh is back to being one of the best coaches in football.
Adam Rittenberg with ESPN, wrote an article ranking the best college football coaches: from national contenders to overachievers.
The Michigan head coach was under the ‘national contenders’ tab with a No. 8 ranking.
8. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
FBS résumé: 29-21 Stanford (four seasons), 61-24 Michigan (seven seasons), 90-45 overall (11 seasons)
Conference titles: 1 (Big Ten) | National titles: 0
Harbaugh had always placed well in national coach rankings, but needed to justify his position by beating Ohio State and winning the Big Ten. He accomplished both last season, helping Michigan to its first CFP appearance and its first outright Big Ten title since 2003. Harbaugh has improved Michigan’s program but now must start competing more frequently for national goals. He also engineered a dramatic turnaround at Stanford, which had five losing seasons before his arrival and went 12-1 with a No. 4 finish in his final year.
Harbaugh has accomplished making Michigan relevant again, regardless whether the Wolverines are in the news for winning or something that was said, the maize and blue are talked about on a daily basis.
Now that Harbaugh has defeated Ohio State and made the College Football Playoff for the first time at Michigan, the Wolverines are confident and ready for that Sept. 3 kickoff against Colorado State.
Other Big Ten coaches ranked were:
‘Contenders’: Ryan Day (Ohio State) at No. 6 and James Franklin (Penn State) at No. 9,
‘Next up’: Kirk Ferentz (Iowa) at No. 3 and Paul Chryst (Wisconsin) at No. 9
‘Overachievers’: Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern) at No. 2 and P.J. Fleck (Minnesota) at No. 9
‘Fast Starts’: Mel Tucker (Michigan State) at No. 4