The Indianapolis Colts’ search for their next head coach has included interviews with several top coordinators in the NFL. But one possibility from the college ranks can be crossed off the list of candidates.
Michigan President Santa Ono tweeted on January 16 that Jim Harbaugh, who has been floated by some members of the media as the top choice for Indianapolis’ head coach opening, will return to Michigan next season.
“I just got off the phone with Coach Harbaugh, and Jim shared with me the great news that he is going to remain as the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines,” Ono posted on Twitter. “That is fantastic news that I have communicated to our Athletic Director Warde Manuel.
Last year, a contract extension brought him back to Michigan. The Athletic’s Austin Meek reported Harbaugh’s return to the Wolverines in 2023 “is expected to come with another contract extension and salary bump.”
Jim Harbaugh No Longer Candidate to Become Colts Head Coach
The Michigan coach has been rumored as a candidate for Indianapolis since just a few weeks after the team replaced Frank Reich with Jeff Saturday.
The reasons for that are pretty obvious. Harbaugh went 44-19-1 as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14. He led the 49ers to three NFC Championships and a Super Bowl appearance during that stretch.
Since leaving the 49ers for Michigan, Harbaugh has taken the Wolverines to a 74-25 record, including 25-3 mark over the last two years. Michigan has also earned two straight berths into the College Football Playoffs.
In 12 seasons as a FBS head coach, Harbaugh owns a 130-46 record.
Harbaugh has also been tied to the Colts because of his previous relationship with the team. He played quarterback in Indianapolis from 1994-97, posting a 20-26 record as a starter.
In 53 games with the Colts, Harbaugh recorded 8,705 passing yards, 49 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.
But the return to Michigan ends any hope of Harbaugh even beginning the interview process for the Colts.
Colts Coaching Search Growing at End of NFL Wild Card Weekend
Harbaugh may be out as a possibility, but the Colts have plenty of other candidates.
Joel A. Erickson of The Indianapolis Star reported on January 16 that Indianapolis’ list of head coach candidates is 11.
During the first week of the offseason, the Colts interviewed special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone along with outside candidates, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen.
After Wild Card Weekend concludes, the Colts also plan to interview New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.
Erickson reported Saturday also remains a candidate despite going 1-7 as interim head coach during the 2022 season.
Harbaugh falling out of the race will be a tough blow for some Colts fans, but the team isn’t short on other great candidates to be the team’s next head coach.