Chargers strike deal with Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh was named head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers on Wednesday, returning to the NFL after leading Michigan to the college football national championship earlier this month.

“Jim Harbaugh is football personified,” said Dean Spanos, Chargers owner and chairman in a franchise announcement. “And I can think of no one better to lead the Chargers forward. The son of a coach, brother of a coach and father of a coach who himself was coached by names like (Bo) Schembechler and (Mike) 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?”

Harbaugh retired from the NFL as a backup quarterback with the Chargers franchise and soon after embarked on a coaching career that has included a lot of winning, starting in San Diego.

“You don’t build a resume like Jim’s by accident, and you don’t do it by yourself. You need a team,” president of football operations John Spanos said. “And nobody has built a team more successfully, and repeatedly, in recent history than Jim Harbaugh.”

In his ninth season at his alma mater, Harbaugh led the Wolverines to the national championship, the first time the school has won a title since 1997.

The Chargers, who went 5-12 this season, fired head coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco last month after a 63-21 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Staley spent three seasons with Los Angeles, finishing with a 24-24 mark.

Harbaugh, 60, leaves Michigan with an 89-25 record, including eight bowl appearances. Before his stint with the Wolverines, he was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14 and guided them to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season. He parted ways with the 49ers after the 2014 campaign, going 44-19-1 in four seasons.

Harbaugh’s coaching career began in 2004 at the University of San Diego, where he guided the Toreros to a 29-6 record during his three seasons. He also spent four seasons as Stanford’s head coach (2007-10) and led the Cardinal to two bowl appearances and a 29-21 record.