The Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to terms with Jim Harbaugh as head coach.

The Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to terms with Jim Harbaugh as head coach.

The Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to hire Jim Harbaugh as their head coach. Harbaugh, who played quarterback for the Chargers in 1999 and 2000, has spent the last nine years as head football coach at the University of Michigan. Harbaugh returns to the Chargers after leading Michigan to three consecutive Big Ten Championships, three consecutive visits in the College Football Playoff, and a perfect 15-0 record this past season, which saw the Wolverines named 2023 National Champions.

“Jim Harbaugh is football personified, and I can’t think of anyone better to lead the Chargers forward,” said Dean Spanos, owner and chairman of the board. “Jim, the son of a coach, brother of a coach, and father of a coach who was coached by Schembechler and Ditka, has guided hundreds of men to success as their coach over the last two decades. And today, Jim Harbaugh returns to the Chargers, this time as coach. “Who has it better than us?”

“You don’t build a resume like Jim’s by accident, and you don’t do it all by yourself,” said President of Football Operations John Spanos. “You need a team. And no one has constructed a club more effectively and consistently in recent history than Jim Harbaugh. His former teammates swear by him, while his opponents curse at him. Jim is one of a kind, and we are thrilled to have him back as head coach of the Chargers.”   

Harbaugh delivers a winning culture, with a 144-52 record as a college head coach and a 49-22-1 record as an NFL head coach. In four years, he guided the 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship Games, including a Super Bowl participation.

Harbaugh coached nine eventual first-round picks during his nine-season career at Michigan (2015-23). During his four seasons in San Francisco (2011-14), Harbaugh guided 17 players to a total of 30 Pro Bowl selections, the second-most in the NFL at the time. Eight of the players were named first-team All-Pro by The Associated Press, including linebackers Patrick Willis twice and NaVorro Bowman three times.

“My passion for Michigan, both as a player and as a coach, has a long-lasting influence. “I’ll always be a loyal Wolverine,” Harbaugh said. “I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to coach in settings where my life’s path has resulted in great personal ties. Working as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky with my father, Jack, and as an assistant with the Raiders, to becoming a head coach at USD, Stanford, the 49ers, and Michigan, each of those chances was significant and felt personal. When I played for the Chargers, the Spanos family could not have been more cordial or more inviting. Being back here seems like home, and it’s fantastic to realize that those things haven’t changed.

“The only job you start at the top is digging a hole, so we know we’ve had to earn our way. Be better today than yesterday. Be better tomorrow than today. My top objectives are religion, family, and football, and we want to approach each with unprecedented zeal. This company is putting in the effort by investing cash, establishing infrastructure, and doing all in its power to succeed. amazing work produces amazing rewards, and we’re just getting started.”

Harbaugh, one of football’s most decorated coaches, guided Michigan to an 86-25 record during nine seasons as head coach. His teams won more than ten games six times and made three consecutive CFP appearances from 2021 to 2023, winning the national championship this season and setting a school record of 15 wins. Since taking over as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines in 2015, Harbaugh has coached the nation’s top defense, allowing only 291.0 yards per game. Over those nine seasons, Michigan had five top-five defenses in the country, including two as the top-ranked defense.

The Associated Press selected Harbaugh NFL Coach of the Year in 2011, after his first season with the 49ers, when he guided the team to an NFC West division title with a 13-3 record. That season, the defense led the NFL with 38 interceptions and was first in running defense, allowing just 77.3 yards per game on the ground. The squad made a strong postseason run to its first of three consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances, including a spot in Super Bowl XLVII in 2012. During Harbaugh’s four seasons in San Francisco, the 49ers led the NFL in rushing defense (92.0 yards per game), ranked second in scoring defense (17.4 points per game), third in total defense (310.2), and fourth with 122 takeaways.

Harbaugh previously served as head coach at Stanford University (2007-10) and the University of San Diego (2004-06) before joining the NFL. He turned around a Stanford program that was 1-11 in 2006, leading the Cardinal to 29 wins in four seasons in Palo Alto, Calif., including a 12-win season that resulted in an Orange Bowl victory in 2010. Harbaugh broke into the head coaching ranks at San Diego, where he led the Toreros to a 29-6 record in three seasons.

Harbaugh started his coaching career as the Oakland Raiders’ quarterbacks coach from 2002 to 2003. The Raiders won Super Bowl XXXVII in his first season with the organization, with quarterback Rich Gannon earning MVP accolades, Pro Bowl selection, and AP first-team All-Pro recognition.

Harbaugh spent 15 years as an NFL quarterback (1987-2001), with five different teams, including the Chargers from 1999 to 2000. He began his coaching career while still playing in the NFL, serving as an unpaid assistant at Western Kentucky from 1994 to 2001, where his father, Jack, was the head coach. Harbaugh was taken with the 25th overall choice in the 1987 NFL Draft by Chicago and went on to start 140-of-177 career games played, passing for 26,288 yards and 129 touchdowns. He topped the NFL in passer rating in 1995, garnering Comeback Player of the Year accolades and a Pro Bowl selection after guiding the Colts to an AFC Championship Game trip. Harbaugh subsequently signed with the Chargers for two seasons and is one of four quarterbacks to pass for 400 yards in a single game.

Harbaugh played quarterback at the University of Michigan, where he became one of the most effective passes in college football history. He was 21-3-1 as a starter for the Wolverines, earning first-team All-American honors and placing third in Heisman Trophy voting in 1986. Harbaugh lead the country in 1985 in passing efficiency rating, while his career passing efficiency rating stood as the greatest in NCAA history for more than 12 years after his stint at Michigan.

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