Chargers hire Jim Harbaugh as new head coach

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh celebrates winning the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 8, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by CFP/Getty Images)

Jim Harbaugh is making his return to the National Football League, leaving the NCAA Champion Michigan Wolverines to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Harbaugh will come back to the NFL to coach a Chargers team that disappointed in 2023. Just over two weeks ago, Harbaugh's Michigan team won the College Football Playoff, taking down the University of Washington 34-13.

It's been nearly a decade since Harbaugh coached in the NFL. His last job was as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. During his time in the Bay Area, Harbaugh led the Niners to three NFC Championship games as well as an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII against his brother John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Los Angeles Chargers fire head coach Brandon Staley

Before announcing the news at 5:10 p.m. Wednesday, the Chargers issued a pair of cryptic social media posts. The first post featured a video of white smoke puffing out and a second post recites Harbaugh's popular catch phrase, "Who's got it better than us?"

The team announced the deal in a press release Wednesday.

"Jim Harbaugh is football personified, and I can think of no one better to lead the Chargers forward," Chargers Owner Dean Spanos said in that press release. "The son of a coach, brother of a coach and father of a coach who himself was coached by names like Schembechler and Ditka, for the past two decades Jim has led hundreds of men to success everywhere he's been — as their coach. And today, Jim Harbaugh returns to the Chargers, this time as our coach. Who has it better than us?"

In that same press release, Habaugh reflected on his time at Michigan, saying "playing there and coming back to coach there, leaves a lasting impact. I'll always be a loyal Wolverine."

"When I played for the Chargers, the Spanos family could not have been more gracious or more welcoming. Being back here feels like home, and it's great to see that those things haven't changed," Harbaugh said.

Prior to coaching, Harbaugh was a quarterback in the NFL for 14 seasons, including two with the then-San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers fired head coach Brandon Staley back on Dec. 15. Staley spent three seasons in Los Angeles, amassing a 24-24 record. The Chargers went 5-12 in the 2023 season, finishing in last place in the AFC West. Harbaugh was one of more than a dozen candidates the Chargers interviewed for the position, including interim coach Giff Smith, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, and former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.

The Chargers also fired their general manager, Tom Telesco, the same day they sacked Staley. That position has yet to be filled.