Jim Harbaugh has taken the University of Michigan's football team from a laughingstock to a national title contender in just two seasons, and according to a list released by USA Today on Wednesday, he is being compensated handsomely as the highest-paid coach in college football.
|College Football's Highest-Paid Coaches|
|3||Urban Meyer||Ohio State||$6,094,800|
|5||Jimbo Fisher||Florida State||$5,250,000|
|7||Kevin Sumlin||Texas A&M||$5,000,000|
|9||Hugh Freeze||Ole Miss||$4,703,500|
|T10||James Franklin||Penn State||$4,500,000|
The Wolverines are ranked No. 2 in the nation behind the Crimson Tide at 7-0, and they are in line to make their first appearance in the College Football Playoff.
Harbaugh is 17-3 in two seasons as the head man at his alma mater after parting ways with the San Francisco 49ers despite leading them to a pair of NFC Championship Game appearances as well as a Super Bowl berth.
As Bleacher Report's Matt Hayes pointed out, Harbaugh has been a worthwhile investment for the Wolverines:
Matt Hayes @MattHayesCFB
The Michigan brand was bleeding out. Then Jim Harbaugh came along. You get what you pay for. https://t.co/DN8EbWX4Vd #GoBlue2016-10-26 14:50:59
Harbaugh is respected for what he has done for a program that went 5-7 the season prior to his arrival. Even Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is impressed with his accomplishments, per Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press: "I think coach Harbaugh has done a tremendous job there, obviously. Probably truly one of the best coaches maybe that have come through -- whether it's college coaching or in the NFL -- in past years. Obviously, very well-established, and he's got things going down there."
While Harbaugh is still pursuing his first national title, the rest of the coaches in the top five have already reached the mountain peak, as Saban, Urban Meyer, Bob Stoops and Jimbo Fisher have led their teams to championships.
Only Auburn's Gus Malzahn has done so through the remainder of the top 10, while Texas' Charlie Strong is on the hot seat despite being the sixth-highest paid coach in the nation.
Coaching salaries have skyrocketed in college football over the past decade, as evidenced by this stat courtesy of CBSSports.com's Jon Solomon:
Jon Solomon @JonSolomonCBS
Harbaugh is the highest paid in 2016. There were no $4 million coaches until 2007. Now there are 20. https://t.co/YeB0GJwxd62016-10-26 14:43:11
Doling out millions is worth it at a winning program due to the money and fame that success generates, so it stands to reason that Harbaugh is making Michigan's decision-makers look brilliant.
He has a major obstacle in the form of Ohio State and Meyer standing between him and both a Big Ten Championship and CFP appearance this season on Nov. 26, but it represents a golden opportunity for Harbaugh to show why he is No. 1 on the list and ahead of Meyer at No. 3.
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