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Michigan AD Warde Manuel has made it clear that he wants football coach Jim Harbaugh (above) staying put. What does that mean for recruiting?

Jim Harbaugh’s contract stability a strength for Michigan recruiting

Kevin Goheen

During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Wolverines answer questions on the minds of Michigan fans. Submit a question or suggest a topic by sending a tweet here to Rachel Lenzi or here to Kevin Goheen. Check back Monday through Friday as we answer the Michigan Question of the Day. Go here to see our previous answers.


Will the contract for Jim Harbaugh help the recruits look more serious at Michigan for the foreseeable future? — Tony Harden via Facebook

Recruits already look seriously at Michigan, but Jim Harbaugh’s contract status is a considerable strength when he and his assistant coaches are out on the road looking for the next class of Wolverines. There seems to be whispers every year that Harbaugh will head back to the NFL, or that he’s in trouble if he doesn’t find a way to beat Ohio State and/or Michigan State. While the latter sticks in the craw of everyone associated with the Michigan program, the fact remains that Harbaugh has four years remaining on his contract.

He isn’t going anywhere soon, and Warde Manuel, Harbaugh’s boss and Michigan’s athletic director, doesn’t want him going anywhere — period.

“I love my coaches across the board. I love [Harbaugh and basketball coach John Beilein] in particular, but I’m extremely pleased with where we are from a staffing/coaching standpoint,” Manuel told reporters at the Big Ten spring meetings in Chicago this week. “And Jim and John are two people that I would love to see retire from this institution [when they] retire from coaching.”

I was in Texas last week talking to 2018 signees Mustapha Muhammad and the Green twins, Ge’mon and German. They each has reasons why they chose Michigan over other schools, including the multitude of Division I programs in their home state, but Harbaugh was a common denominator for them.

Muhammad, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound tight end from the Houston area, listened to coaches tell him how he would be used in their offenses. Then he looked at the film. What Harbaugh and assistants Jay Harbaugh and Greg Frey told him during the recruiting process was backed up by what he saw.

I know for sure that Coach Harbaugh has never lied to me and, hopefully, he never will,” Muhammad said. “I take that very seriously because some coaches have lied to me in the process. They’ve said stuff to me that I knew not to be true. I didn’t know if I wanted to believe it and I wasn’t comfortable with what they told me. I’ve been the most comfortable with Michigan and the staff.”

The Greens have been fans of Harbaugh since he was coaching the San Francisco 49ers.

Coaching is a volatile professional given to sudden change. The honeymoon period for Harbaugh in Ann Arbor is over. The pressure is on him to beat his rivals, win the Big Ten East and then a Big Ten title, something Michigan hasn’t held so much as a share of since 2004.

Harbaugh’s résumé says he doesn’t stay at one place very long, but Michigan is different. It’s his alma mater, his home. He isn’t going anywhere, and that is a major selling point on the recruiting trail.

Read more answers to questions about the Michigan Wolverines here.