It’s official. After weeks of speculation, Jim Harbaugh will leave his post at Michigan to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the new on Wednesday night and while it did not come as a major surprise, there will now be plenty of moving parts since it is now official.
It is not every year that the reigning National Champions have an opening. After years of rumors, Harbaugh decided to leave the Wolverines after accomplishing his final goal of winning it all. Michigan has won the Big Ten Championship in each of the last three years. Over the last two, the Wolverines were eliminated in the national semifinal but reached the pinnacle in 2024.
So, who is the early favorite to replace Harbaugh?
No surprise that it is Sherrone Moore. The offensive coordinator took over as interim head coach while Harbaugh served his suspension at the end of the regular season.
Pete Thamel of ESPN also referenced Lance Leipold, Chris Klieman and Dave Clawson as potential replacements. The other two names on the list are interesting given their status as second-year head coaches within the Big Ten — Nebraska’s Matt Rhule and Wisconsin’s Luke Fickell.
Harbaugh spent nine years in Ann Arbor and compiled a record of 89-25. He finished 3-6 in bowl games, won the Big Ten three times, and added a National Championship in what turned out to be his final year. It also is worth mentioning that he leaves with a current three-game win streak over Ohio State.
Harbaugh spent four years as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2010-2014. He went 44-19 during that time. The Niners won 11 or more games in each of Harbaugh’s first three years and won the NFC in 2012.
The return of Harbaugh to the NFL sees him land with a team that has a franchise quarterback in place in Justin Herbert with many key skill position players. This is a home run for both Harbaugh and the Chargers.
For Michigan, the search will be on to find the right head coach that can continue the success that the program has had under Harbaugh.