INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Colts fans hoping to see Jim Harbaugh return to the franchise are in for some disappointment.
Harbaugh will return as the head football coach of the Michigan Wolverines, he said in a statement released Monday. There had been speculation that Harbaugh would leave the university to pursue another NFL job. He had reportedly interviewed for the Denver Broncos vacancy and had been linked to the opening in Carolina.
Ultimately, Harbaugh decided to stay at the University of Michigan, where he became the head coach in December 2014 after leaving the San Francisco 49ers.
“I love the relationships that I have at Michigan — coaches, staff, families, administration, President Santa Ono and especially the players and their families,” Harbaugh said in the statement. “My heart is at the University of Michigan. I once heard a wise man say, ‘Don’t try to out-happy, happy.’ Go Blue!”
Harbaugh guided the Wolverines to back-to-back Big Ten Championships and took the team to the College Football Playoff in consecutive seasons. He’s 74-25 as Michigan’s head coach.
Harbaugh starred at quarterback for Michigan before coming to the NFL, where he was drafted by the Chicago Bears. He eventually made his way to the Indianapolis Colts during the 1994 season.
He earned the nickname “Captain Comeback” for his penchant to leading the Colts to come-from-behind wins. With Harbaugh under center, the Colts made two consecutive playoff appearances after posting 9-7 records. He guided the team to the 1996 AFC Championship Game, with the team losing 20-16 to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a memorable Hail Mary pass that slipped out of the grasp of receiver Aaron Bailey.
Though he spent only four seasons in Indianapolis—the team traded Harbaugh to Baltimore before drafting Peyton Manning—he earned a spot in the Colts Ring of Honor in 2005.
Harbaugh didn’t formally interview with the Colts for their coaching vacancy. The team has completed interviews with seven candidates so far and is expected to interview interim head coach Jeff Saturday soon.