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Michigan Wolverines reportedly at serious risk of losing Jim Harbaugh, needing new coach in 2024

The Michigan Wolverines became perennial College Football Playoff contenders under head coach Jim Harbaugh, beating Ohio State in three consecutive years and making regular trips to the Big Ten Championship game. However, it’s possible this could be Harbaugh’s last in Ann Arbor.

It took time for Harbaugh to rebuild the Wolverines’ football program. While Michigan won double-digit games in 2015 and ’16, they also lost six combined contests. Far worse, Harbaugh came up empty in his five early matchups against Ohio State in “The Game” and it hung over him.

  • Jim Harbaugh college record: 85-25 with the Michigan Wolverines

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It led to some much-needed coaching changes to the Michigan staff. Now, heading into the Big Ten title game against the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Wolverines are 37-3 over the last three seasons, twice reaching the CFP Semifinal. With a win on Saturday, Michigan will earn a playoff spot for the third consecutive year.

However, a turbulent 2023 season could also be Harbaugh’s last with the Wolverines. Having already served two suspensions this season for violations of NCAA rules, he could receive an even longer ban in 2024 depending on the findings of the ongoing NCAA investigation. Facing more discipline, it seems a return to the NFL is possible.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, there’s a belief around the NFL that “this might be the year” Harbaugh goes from coaching candidate to NFL head coach. He’s interviewed with teams in the past, but always turned that interest into a new contract extension and pay raise from Michigan.

  • Jim Harbaugh NFL record: 44-19-1

However, the looming risk of NCAA discipline and the departure of many Michigan stars into the 2024 NFL Draft could sway Harbaugh’s decision. He might believe he’s achieved what he can at the college level, leaving unfinished business in the NFL to handle.

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Harbaugh would immediately become one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL and any team that hires him would likely need to hand over some control of the roster, with a general manager that Harbaugh trusts. While Harbaugh’s personality can cause some friction in a building, he’s won everywhere he’s been.

If Harbaugh leaves the Wolverines, Sherrone Moore will likely take over as the Wolverines’ coach in 2024. With less money spent on the head coach, Michigan could devote more funds to Moore’s coaching staff and NIL funding for recruiting.

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