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How much does Jim Harbaugh make a year?

Jim Harbaugh is the head football coach for the University of Michigan Wolverines. As one of the most successful and well-known coaches in college football, Harbaugh earns a high salary that places him among the highest paid coaches in the sport.

Quick Answer

Jim Harbaugh’s total annual compensation at Michigan is approximately $7.5 million per year.

Breakdown of Jim Harbaugh’s Salary

Here is a breakdown of the key components that make up Jim Harbaugh’s annual compensation as head coach at Michigan:

  • Base salary: $500,000
  • Additional compensation: $2 million
  • Deferred compensation: $2 million
  • Longevity bonus: $500,000
  • Performance bonuses: Up to $2.5 million

The largest portions of Harbaugh’s pay come from his base salary of $500,000 and his additional compensation of $2 million. He also earns a substantial amount in deferred compensation, longevity bonuses, and performance-based bonuses.

Base Salary – $500,000

Harbaugh’s base salary at Michigan is $500,000. This is the guaranteed amount he earns each year as head coach.

Additional Compensation – $2 Million

On top of his base salary, Harbaugh also receives $2 million in additional annual compensation. This likely includes compensation for media appearances, apparel sponsorship, and other duties outside of coaching.

Deferred Compensation – $2 Million

Harbaugh earns $2 million per year in deferred compensation from the university. This amount is set aside each year and paid out at a later date agreed upon in his contract.

Longevity Bonus – $500,000

Harbaugh’s contract includes a $500,000 longevity bonus that he earns each year for remaining head coach. This provides additional guaranteed income annually.

Performance Bonuses – Up to $2.5 Million

Harbaugh can earn up to $2.5 million per year in bonuses based on his team’s performance. These include bonuses for winning the Big Ten conference, appearing in the College Football Playoff, winning National Coach of the Year honors, and more.

Comparison to Other Top College Coaches

Jim Harbaugh’s annual salary places him among the highest paid coaches in college football. Here is how his annual compensation compares to other top coaches:

Coach School Total Annual Compensation
Nick Saban Alabama $9.5 million
Jimbo Fisher Texas A&M $7.5 million
Kirby Smart Georgia $7.1 million
Lincoln Riley USC $10 million
Jim Harbaugh Michigan $7.5 million

While Harbaugh is not the highest paid coach, his $7.5 million per year still places him among the elite top-tier of college football’s coaching salaries. Only Alabama’s Nick Saban and new USC coach Lincoln Riley earn more on an annual basis.

Jim Harbaugh’s Contract

In January 2021, Harbaugh signed a 5-year contract extension with Michigan through the 2025 season. The key terms of his current contract include:

  • Annual base salary of $500,000
  • $2 million in annual additional compensation
  • $2 million annual deferred compensation
  • Annual $500,000 longevity bonus
  • Performance bonuses up to $2.5 million per year
  • 10% of assistant coach salary pool
  • Private jet use for recruiting and university business

Harbaugh’s extended contract keeps him as the Wolverines head coach through 2025. It ranks him among the highest paid coaches in college football, providing significant guaranteed compensation along with performance bonuses.

Future Earnings Potential

With his proven track record of success at Michigan, Harbaugh likely has significant future earnings potential. If Harbaugh continues winning big, he will maintain leverage for larger contracts and compensation.

Here are some factors that could lead to Harbaugh increasing his earnings in future contracts:

  • Sustained success and winning seasons at Michigan – More 10-win seasons will boost his value.
  • Winning the Big Ten conference and appearing in playoffs.
  • Competing for a national championship.
  • Drawing interest from NFL teams who may want him as a head coach.

Considering Harbaugh is already one of the highest paid coaches, his future contract value hinges on winning at an elite level. If Michigan football ascends to being a consistent national championship contender under Harbaugh, he will be in position to demand over $10 million per year.


With an annual compensation package of approximately $7.5 million, Jim Harbaugh is firmly entrenched as one of the top paid coaches in college football. His salary includes a $500,000 base, $2 million in additional compensation, $2 million in deferred pay, a $500,000 longevity bonus, and up to $2.5 million in bonuses.

Harbaugh earns more than most coaches but trails the highest paid like Nick Saban and Lincoln Riley. Continued success at Michigan could allow Harbaugh to eventually become one of the very top earning coaches in the college game. But for now, his $7.5 million per year still places him among the elite top tier of the highest paid coaches in college football.