Less than one week after the Denver Broncos fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett, owner and CEO Greg Penner released a statement that the saying that the team will “immediately begin” their search for the team’s next head coach.
Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines’ season came to an end on December 31 after they lost to TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinals.
Last offseason, Harbaugh was a finalist for the Minnesota Vikings’ head coaching job before they hired former Los Angeles Rams’ offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.
Harbaugh told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “For better or worse, it was something I wanted to explore. I went in thinking, ‘I’m gonna have 100 percent conviction on this, and if they have 100 conviction on this, then it’s something I’m gonna do.”
Harbaugh later admitted that the interest level was not mutual between him and the Vikings.
“I didn’t feel it was that way for both parties and that’s it.”
Broncos are Willing to Spend Money
After spending $4.65 billion to purchase the Broncos, the Walton-Penner group is willing to be aggressive in searching for the next head coach and money likely won’t be an issue.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Broncos are “expected to be ‘ultra-aggressive’ in doing whatever it takes to land the head coach candidate it wants.”
Back in February of 2022, Harbaugh agreed to a five-year contract extension with Michigan that will run through the 2026 college football season. Harbaugh’s extension is reportedly worth $36.7 million.
Averaging $7.3 million per year, Harbaugh could make well north of that if he was willing to return to the NFL.
Harbaugh has had Success Everywhere
After spending 14 seasons in the NFL as a quarterback, Harbaugh decided to get into coaching where he landed his first head coaching job at the University of San Diego.
In his first season, Harbaugh led the Toreros to a 7-4 record and finishing second in the Pioneer Football League. In his second and third seasons as head coach, San Diego piled up 11-1 records in both years and won back-to-back Pioneer Football League Championships.
This led Harbaugh to being hired as the head coach of Stanford. Taking over a program that won just one game in 2006, Harbaugh eventually led the team to a bowl game three years later.
During his time at Stanford, Harbaugh helped coach and develop Andrew Luck, who eventually became the first-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
In 2011, Harbaugh made the jump to the NFL as he became the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
In his first season with San Francisco, Harbaugh got the 49ers to the NFC Championship game before they fell to Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
The following season, the 49ers ended up in the Super Bowl of 2013, but fell just short to the Baltimore Ravens.
After the 2014 season, the 49ers and Harbaugh decided to part ways which allowed him to become the head coach of Michigan just two days later.
Once taking over the program at Michigan, Harbaugh took over a 5-7 program and turned them into a power house. In the first seven seasons that Harbaugh has coached his alma mater, the Wolverines have appeared in six bowl games and have won more than 10 games five times.
Michigan has also won the Big 10 twice.
Harbaugh will be one of the top candidates for the Broncos moving forward potentially with former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.