We now have more understanding regarding the contract that landed former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor as the University of Michigan head football coach.
What was known is that the deal is for seven years and has a 10 percent increase embedded within it each season after his third year. It also includes an additional 10 percent after Harbaugh’s fifth season manning the sideline.
What we didn’t know is that Harbaugh’s contract calls for a potential buyout that is based on the prorated total of his $2 million signing bonus. This means that if Harbaugh were to depart after three seasons, he would be responsible for paying back 57 percent of that signing bonus ($1.14 million).
That’s not necessarily much financial incentive for the former successful NFL head coach to remain at Michigan should his heart lead him back to the professional ranks. Heck, he could depart after two seasons and only be out about $1.4 million.
Harbaugh’s contract calls for a minimum of $40.1 million over the seven seasons. A deferred compensation package will add millions in value, but that will be decided at a later date by university officials. This is similar to the package that Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban receives. It will also take into account economic trends relating to top-tier college football head coaches moving forward. That could lead to a nice little increase in salary for Harbaugh.
A huge part of Harbaugh’s deal, especially for fans of the Maize and Blue, is that he’s allocated $4-$5 million per season for his assistant coaching pool consisting of nine positions. That ranks Michigan among the top in the nation and enables Harbaugh to create sustained excellence on his staff moving forward.
However, the biggest piece of news here is that Harbaugh can bolt for the NFL without much of a financial push back. That’s obviously something that the head coach and his agent pushed for. And in reality, Michigan didn’t hold much bargaining power there.
Photo: USA Today