Who is Jim Harbaugh?

    Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh has had success everywhere he's coached, but is at the center of multiple scandals in Ann Arbor

    James Joseph “Jim” Harbaugh has been in the news frequently over the past month as the Big Ten and NCAA have attempted to crack down on the Michigan Wolverines football team. The Michigan football head coach has recently been at the center of an elaborate sign-stealing scandal that has spanned multiple seasons.

    Who is Jim Harbaugh and how did he end up at the University of Michigan?

    Jim Harbaugh’s Journey to Michigan

    Harbaugh grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan but moved to Palo Alto, California as his father became the defensive coordinator of Stanford. Upon high school graduation, Harbaugh committed to play football at the University of Michigan. There, he was a three-year starter, leaving as the school’s all-time passing leader in 1986.

    Harbaugh then moved to the NFL, where he played 14 seasons with the Bears, Colts, Ravens, and Chargers. While he played, he was an unpaid assistant at Western Kentucky with his father, Jack. After retiring in 2001, Harbaugh moved into full-time coaching and quickly climbed the ladder.

    After just three years as the quarterbacks coach for the Raiders, Harbaugh was named head coach at the University of San Diego. After three winning seasons, including back-to-back 11-1 campaigns, Harbaugh was hired as head coach of the Stanford Cardinal, moving back to Palo Alto for the first time in over 25 years.

    Harbaugh led the Cardinal to a BCS bowl bid in 2010 and then strangely bolted for the NFL, moving a short distance to coach the San Francisco 49ers. Despite enormous success, Harbaugh was having a power struggle behind the scenes and he left the 49ers in 2014 and was quickly named head football coach at the University of Michigan, where he has remained until now.

    Harbaugh’s Michigan Tenure

    Harbaugh has had massive success at Michigan, winning at least 10 games in all but one of his non-shortened seasons. The Wolverines have won back-to-back Big Ten titles and are undefeated in 2023.

    Though the Wolverines have stumbled some in postseason play, many believe this could be the year Harbaugh gets Michigan over the hump.

    Recently, Harbaugh has been at the center of scandals.

    MORE: Why Did Jim Harbaugh Get Suspended?

    Harbaugh missed three games to open the 2023 season after it was discovered that he had made impermissible contact with recruits during the COVID-19 pandemic. On November 10, 2023, the Big Ten announced he would be suspended from Michigan games for the rest of the regular season for “lack of institutional control” after a staffer was caught attending other teams’ games and allegedly stealing play-calling signs.

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