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Home / Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh rejoins Chargers as head coach

Jim Harbaugh, former quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers and now ex-head coach for the University of Michigan, has returned to the Chargers as their new head coach. 

Harbaugh’s nine-year tenure at Michigan featured three consecutive Big Ten Championships, three straight appearances in the College Football Playoff and a perfect 15-0 record in 2023 that culminated in a National Championship.

“Jim Harbaugh is football personified,” Dean Spanos, Chargers owner and chairman, said in a statement Wednesday. “The son of a coach, brother of a coach, and father of a coach who himself was coached by names like Schembechler and Ditka, Jim has led hundreds of men to success.”

John Spanos, president of football operations, said in a statement, “You need a team. And nobody has built a team more successfully, and repeatedly, in recent history than Jim Harbaugh.”

Harbaugh’s proven track record of developing top athletes is clear from his ability to coach nine eventual first-round selections at Michigan, and 17 players to a combined 30 Pro Bowl selections during his four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

“I’ll always be a loyal Wolverine,” Harbaugh said in a statement. “The only job you start at the top is digging a hole, so we’ve got to earn our way. Be better today than yesterday. Be better tomorrow than today.”

Harbaugh led Michigan to an 86-25 record, including six seasons with over 10 wins and three consecutive CFP appearances. His 2011 season with the San Francisco 49ers earned him NFL Coach of the Year by The Associated Press, thanks to a 13-3 record and a first-place NFL ranking in rushing defense and takeaways.

Prior to his NFL head coaching career, Harbaugh turned around Stanford University’s program and led the University of San Diego to a 29-6 record. Over his 15-year NFL career as a quarterback, Harbaugh played for five organizations, threw for over 26,000 yards and earned Pro Bowl selection as comeback player of the year in 1995.

Harbaugh replaces former Chargers head coach Brandon Staley.

“When I played for the Chargers, the Spanos family could not have been more gracious,” Harbaugh said. “Being back here feels like home.”

The Chargers, faced with one of the NFL’s oldest defenses and a bloated salary cap, will rely on Harbaugh’s experience to usher in a new era. He will have a chance to work with quarterback Justin Herbert and address the team’s need for depth and more talent.

Harbaugh’s return to the NFL follows years of speculation about his potential departure from Michigan, including a reported 10-year, $125 million extension offer that included a clause preventing NFL head coaching interviews in 2024.

Although Harbaugh had been linked to the Las Vegas Raiders and other teams, he found the opportunity to coach Herbert and the Chargers too enticing to pass up. With a significant salary cap overhaul looming and a need to build around their franchise quarterback, Los Angeles looks forward to Harbaugh’s innovative leadership.

The search for a new general manager continues, with Harbaugh likely to have input. The Chargers need a GM comfortable working alongside the dynamic coach, as they tackle roster revamps and cap situation management.

Reporting by Pro Football Network

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