Harbaugh says extension talks were halted by COVID-19
By: Mike Stiles - Thursday, July 9, 2020

Jim Harbaugh (photo courtesy of Getty Images)

(ANN ARBOR) – Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday that he was closing in on a contract extension before coping with the COVID-19 pandemic became a top priority for all involved in the discussions. "There's bigger fish to fry for our athletic director, or our administration, me as a coach," Harbaugh said during a video interview. "It hasn't been on the top of the priority list. I would expect something, that there would be an announcement at some time." Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel has said more than once that he wants Harbaugh to lead the Wolverines until he chooses to retire from coaching. Harbaugh has two years left on a deal that pays him about $7 million per year. He is 47-18 over five seasons in charge of college football's winningest program. Although Harbaugh has won nearly three-fourths of the overall games, he is 0-5 against rival Ohio State and has lost four straight bowl games. Manuel, who, like Harbaugh, is a former Michigan football player, has been happy enough with the results on and off the field to engage in talks to retain the coach beyond the 2021 season. "It was kind of right there [in] February, where it was being discussed, and then the pandemic hit," Harbaugh said. During the 2019 season, Harbaugh sent parents of players on his team an email that refuted a report saying representatives were working on his departure. Harbaugh was an NFL head coach in San Francisco. He returned in 2015 to the school where he was a star quarterback after going 44-19-1 with the 49ers and winning the 2012 NFC championship.