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College Football

Jim Harbaugh says he’s not worth the $5 million per year Michigan is paying him


Even Jim Harbaugh doesn’t think he deserves the $5 million per season that the Michigan Wolverines are paying him to resurrect the storied program. But that doesn’t mean he’s open to returning any of the money.

After endless speculation that Harbaugh, despite his tremendous run of success, was on his way out of the San Francisco 49ers organization — rumors that persisted due to his shaky relationship with the team’s front office — the fiery head coach and the team mutually agreed to part ways in December.

Harbaugh quickly picked up the pieces, though, by agreeing to return to his alma mater — something that was suspected for some time — in the hopes his previous success in the college coaching ranks would help return the Wolverines program back to its former glory.

But the Michigan man, when asked whether he deserves being paid the absurd amounts of money he is set to earn — Harbaugh’s base annual salary is $5 million but reaching incentives and bonuses built into the terms of his current contract means he could make upwards of $7 million per year — bluntly said he is does not.

When asked bluntly by Detroit’s FOX 2 reporter Charlie LeDuff during a recent interview about his salary and whether he is worth that much, Harbaugh responded with similar bluntness.

“No,” Harbaugh replied, via the Detroit Free Press.

LeDuff then intimated, in light of the coach’s opinion of his relative worth, that Harbaugh should feel compelled to give back some of the money, the coach declined to agree.

“Naw. I like making a buck just like the next guy,” Harbaugh replied. “I’m not doing five times as much work as somebody else or doing more work than someone who’s not the head football coach at the University of Michigan so, to answer your question, honestly, I would have to say no.”

But when it comes right down to it, Harbaugh insists his return to his old stomping grounds had nothing to do with the money.

“The decision was from the heart,” he said. “I grew up here. Went to school here. Was a student athlete here at Michigan and I have a great love for Michigan.”

While there is no reason to doubt Harbaugh’s sincerity about his affinity for Michigan, the millions of dollars he is set to earn certainly won’t hurt matters. And still, the guy is so intense and competitive it borders on the pathological, meaning big-time money or not, he will pour his heart and soul into rebuilding the program.