Broncos owner Greg Penner reportedly traveled to Ann Arbor last week to meet with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh about the franchise head coaching vacancy, though the Wolverines coach has stated firmly that he will remain in the program on Jan. 16 would.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the follow-up meeting between Penner, Denver general manager George Paton, and Harbaugh was one of due diligence, since the Broncos leadership held the same meeting with the seven other candidates vying to become the franchise’s next coach. However, a deal between Harbaugh and the Broncos never materialized.
Widely associated with the Denver head coach opening, Harbaugh initially did a virtual interview with the Broncos on Jan. 9. But the Wolverines coach took his name out of the running to become Denver’s next coach when Michigan President Santa Ono tweeted after a phone call he had with Harbaugh, confirming Harbaugh would remain with the program.
Harbaugh cited his love for the “relationships” he has formed with his coaches, staff and administration as key reasons he chose to remain in Ann Arbor.
“My heart goes to the University of Michigan,” Harbaugh said in a statement Jan. 16. “I once heard a wise man say, ‘Don’t try to be happy, happy.’ Go Blue!”
However, before Ono made Harbaugh’s decision public, Harbaugh reportedly called the Broncos to let them know he would not take the head coaching job if offered. to Schefter.
In addition to interviewing Harbaugh, the Broncos have former Saints coach Sean Payton, former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, former Stanford head coach David Shaw, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and current interviewed Broncos defense coordinator Ejiro Evero.
For the past two seasons, Harbaugh has guided the Wolverines to record-breaking heights. During the 2021 campaign, Michigan went 12-2, beat Ohio State for the first time in a decade, won the Big Ten title and appeared in the Orange Bowl.
In 2022, Michigan dismembered Ohio State and won the Big Ten championship but lost to TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. During Harbaugh’s tenure in the NFL, he set a 44-19-1 record as coach of the 49ers from 2011-14 and led the organization to the NFC championship game three times.
He also led San Francisco to Super Bowl XLVII in the 2012 season.