It wasn’t too long ago that Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh had people calling for him to be fired. Now he’s the Coach of the Year.
When Jim Harbaugh went 2-4 during the pandemic-impacted 2020 Michigan football season, it felt his tenure with the Wolverines might be sliding towards a disappointing end.
He’d finished tied for first in the Big Ten East once in his six seasons in charge and finished no higher than third otherwise.
A narrative followed him into 2021: He wasn’t going to be fired after that down year, but he could get the ax this season.
Instead, Harbaugh took that ax and chopped down that narrative, taking down Big Ten contenders with it on his way to a conference title.
Now with his team in the College Football Playoff for the first time, Harbaugh was named the AP Coach of the Year. He couldn’t have chosen a more effective way to silence his critics.
Jim Harbaugh proved critics wrong with the AP Coach of the Year Award
This isn’t Harbaugh’s first Coach of the Year Award. In 2010 he led Stanford to an 11-1 season and landed the Woody Hayes Coach of the Year Award. He was the AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2011.
Things haven’t always gone smoothly for him but he’s proven too many times over too many years that he is a very good coach. Michigan would be hard-pressed to find someone better. One 2-4 season should never have prompted discussions about his job security.
The only valid question for Harbaugh at this point is whether or not he can put himself in the echelon of the truly great coaches who are capable of turning a successful season into a championship season. Whether he does it this year or not, he’s proven a point by getting the Wolverines in the discussion.