The Denver Broncos figure to have interest in Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. What does his coaching history tell us about the career he’s built? Jim Harbaugh has built quite the career as a head coach in both the NFL and college football.
He’s likely one of very few coaches who has virtually nothing but head coaching experience on his resume. His history in coaching is pretty unique, and he’s built a HOF resume coaching at the college football level.
He also spent some time in the NFL in the same role. Harbaugh figures to be contacted by a bunch of teams yet again for their current or pending head coaching openings. He’d be one of the most desirable names if he decided that he wanted to make the jump back into the NFL.
Let’s take a look at this coaching profile for Jim Harbaugh.
Denver Broncos head coaching profile: Jim Harbaugh
Before he got into coaching, Harbaugh spent some time in the NFL as a quarterback. His playing career spanned from 1987-2001. He was drafted in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft and was able to stick around for about 15 careers.
In 2002, he began his coaching career with the Oakland Raiders as the quarterbacks coach. In 2002, Harbaugh’s coaching rubbed off a bit on Rich Gannon as the Raiders made a Super Bowl appearance.
After serving in that role for two seasons, he took a head coaching job with San Diego at the college level. He coached the Toreros for three seasons from 2004-2007, compiling a 29-6 record including two straight years of going 11-1.
He finished his stint at San Diego with a win in the Gridiron Classic Bowl. Stanford decided they wanted in on the Harbaugh mix, bringing him on in 2007. In each of his four years as Stanford’s head coach, the Cardinal won more in each campaign.
They went 4-8 in 2007, 5-7 in 2008, 8-5 in 2009, and 12-1 in 2010, ranking as high as fourth in the nation. Again, Harbaugh ended his tenure with a win in the Orange Bowl, going 29-21 in his four seasons at Stanford, including going 20-6 in his final two seasons.
Then, he made the jump to the NFL. From 2011-2014, Jim Harbaugh was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, getting immediate results. In his first three seasons, the Niners went 13-3, 11-4-1, and 12-4. They made two NFC Championship game appearances and one Super Bowl appearance.
In his final season, the team went 8-8, but Harbaugh finished with a 44-19-1 regular season record and a 5-3 playoff record. Winning 69% of his regular season games as head coach in the NFL is an absolutely insane pace.
In 2015, he returned to his Alma Mater at Michigan as the head coach. They had some up-and-down seasons, including losing five straight bowl games from 2016-2021. They did not make a bowl game in 2020.
However, his Wolverine team is 13-0 this year and qualified for the college football playoff. In total, he’s gone 74-24 at Michigan and 132-51 at the college level.
The Denver Broncos are set to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in a seemingly "meaningless" game, but a win could be massive for 2023.
In every stop as a head coach, Jim Harbaugh has earned a winning record. He’s objectively a good football coach and seems to check every box that the Denver Broncos would want in their next head coach.