California’s Costa Mesa (AP) — According to two people familiar with the situation who spoke to The Associated Press, Jim Harbaugh will be joining the Los Angeles Chargers as head coach, leaving Michigan after culminating his ninth season as coach of the most successful college football program with the school’s first national championship since 1997.
Since the team hasn’t made the announcement, the individuals spoke to the AP under condition of anonymity.
After a second interview, Harbaugh made the much-awaited decision on Wednesday to return to the NFL and continue his pursuit of a Super Bowl, which he had missed out on as a coach and quarterback.
As the head coach, he will be the first former player from the Chargers to rejoin the team. He was a member of the Bolts from 1999 to 2000, and after the 2001 season, he retired.
Following the dismissal of Tom Telesco and coach Brandon Staley on December 15, one day following a 63-21 loss to the Raiders in Las Vegas, Los Angeles began searching for a new general manager and coach.
Jan. 15 marked Harbaugh’s first meeting with the Chargers. He was the eighth coach applicant to interview with the Spanos family out of a total of fifteen. The only person to receive a second interview was him.
Before Harbaugh chose to accept the Chargers offer, the Atlanta Falcons had another interview scheduled with him on January 16.
After winning a national championship as coach Lloyd Carr retired, college football’s most successful program began to wane under Brady Hoke and Rich Rodriguez. Harbaugh, who was 86-25 at Michigan, brought the program back to prominence.
Prior to Harbaugh’s assistance, the Ohio State Buckeyes had an eight-game winning streak against the Wolverines. This streak was broken in 2021, and the Buckeyes went on to win their first of three consecutive Big Ten titles and make it to the College Football Playoffs.
After suffering two straight losses in the semifinals, Michigan defeated Alabama at the Rose Bowl and overcame Washington to win the national championship with a school-record 15-0 record, bringing Harbaugh’s bowl game winless streak to six.
A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that Michigan attempted to retain Harbaugh by offering him a new six-year contract worth $11.5 million per season. The individual spoke under the condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss specifics of the transaction.
The one thing Harbaugh truly wants—a Super Bowl championship—was not something his alma mater could provide.
Although they finished 5-12 this season and have lost eight of their last nine games, including the last five, the Chargers do have one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Justin Herbert. In five seasons, Herbert will be under the tutelage of his fourth head coach and potentially his fourth offensive coordinator.
The Chargers have chosen to hire a head coach with prior experience for the first time since Norv Turner took over for Marty Schottenheimer in 2007. Under Turner’s leadership, the team made it to the AFC championship game in 2007 and three consecutive postseason appearances.
Since 2009, the Chargers have not won a division championship, also under Turner.