Jim Harbaugh is the new head coach at the University of Michigan.
He signed a contract with his alma mater on Monday night, the Detroit News reported, and the university scheduled a news conference to introduce him Tuesday.
Harbaugh reportedly received a six-year, $48 million deal to coach Michigan, the richest contract in college football history. He was a free agent after reaching an agreement to part ways with the San Francisco 49ers after Sunday’s season finale.
Harbaugh landed at the Detroit airport Monday evening and was met by interim athletic director Jim Hackett, among others. Harbaugh was wearing a Michigan cap.
Hackett and other officials from the school met with Harbaugh in California on Sunday night.
According to a report by Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, Harbaugh and members of his family are expected to be at sold-out Crisler Arena for Tuesday’s Big Ten basketball opener against Illinois.
Harbaugh came close to taking the Michigan job in 2011 but decided to jump to the NFL. The Wolverines then hired Brady Hoke. After four seasons, the Wolverines fired Hoke following a 5-7 year and not making a bowl game for the first time since 2009.
Harbaugh played quarterback at Michigan from 1983 to 1986 before a long NFL career. The Palo Alto, Calif., native, who spent part of his childhood in Ann Arbor, has remained on the West Coast since becoming a full-time coach.
Before leading the 49ers to three NFC title games in his first three seasons and an NFC championship following the 2012 season, Harbaugh was a successful coach at San Diego State and Stanford.
Harbaugh had lost four straight games for the first time in San Francisco before the 49ers concluded an underwhelming 8-8 season with a 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. He had one year left on the five-year, $25 million contract he signed with San Francisco in Jan. 2011 after leaving Stanford.
“Jim and I have come to the conclusion that it is in our mutual best interest to move in different directions,” said 49ers CEO Jed York, who shared a brief on-field meeting with Harbaugh that ended with a quick embrace before Sunday’s game. “We thank Jim for bringing a tremendous competitive nature and a great passion for the game to the 49ers. He and his staff restored a winning culture that has been the standard for our franchise throughout its history. Their commitment and hard work resulted in a period of success that should be looked back on proudly by our organization and our fans. We wish Jim and his family all the best.”
The 49ers called a press conference Monday to discuss plans for filling the coaching vacancy.
“We accomplished many great things together as a team during this period, which is a tribute to the incredible efforts of some of the most dedicated players and coaches in the NFL,” Harbaugh said. “I will miss competing alongside this group of players and coaches, I have the utmost respect and admiration for their hard work and support. It has been my honor to share the sideline with these mighty men.”
Harbaugh said after Sunday’s game that he will miss his team, but looks at his time in San Francisco fondly.
“I had the time of my life,” he said, “like the song.”
Even as the agreement with Michigan was being finalized, NFL teams such as the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Oakland Raiders continued making overtures to see if they could change Harbaugh’s mind, NFL sources told ESPN.