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Michigan coaches have a chance to cash in on some big bonuses against Ohio State

Harbaugh, Macdonald and more have some bonuses to cash if things go right.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Eleven months ago, Warde Manuel sat down with the Michigan coaching staff to discuss what the future of the football program would look like. For the past six seasons, Jim Harbaugh had been compensated as one of the best head coaches in the country, but the results on the field had most people questioning if he was deserving of that.

After the Wolverines’ disappointing two-win season in 2020, fans were left wondering if Harbaugh and company would still be leading this program moving forward.

After multiple weeks of rumors and storylines about the contract situation, Manuel announced Harbaugh was receiving an extension. But that did not mean a raise for the seventh-year coach. Harbaugh dropped from the highest-paid head coach in the Big Ten to eighth-highest with the amount of his yearly salary being slashed nearly in half to $4 million. To fill the gaps, the contract included multiple performance-based incentives for Harbaugh to strive toward bringing a championship to Ann Arbor.

Fast forward to the final game of the 2021 season and every bonus laid out for Harbaugh is still in play, including one on the line this Saturday. If Michigan beats Ohio State, it will claim the Big Ten East Championship, allowing Harbaugh to receive a $500,000 bonus while keeping additional bonus opportunities on the table.

Here is the full list:

  • $50,000 for Big Ten Coach of the Year
  • $75,000 for National Coach of the Year
  • $150,000 for Meeting Academic Progress goals
  • $200,000 for a New Year’s Six Bowl Game
  • $500,000 for an outright Division Championship
  • $500,000 for a berth in the College Football Playoff
  • $1 million for a Big Ten Championship
  • $1 million for a National Championship

If Michigan were to achieve all these goals, Harbaugh’s total compensation would reach $7.475 million.

Harbaugh is not the only coach on the Michigan staff with bonuses on the line this Saturday. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis and defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald both can earn some extra cash with a win over Ohio State.

According to the coordinators’ contracts, they will receive $50,000 for each regular season victory exceeding eight. With Michigan already at 10 wins, they have both earned an additional $100,000 thus far, with the opportunity for another $50,000 this weekend.

Gattis and Macdonald have other, larger performance-based bonuses tied into their contracts focused on statistics rather than wins and losses. Here is the full list of bonuses for both of them:


  • $50,000 for each regular season victory exceeding eight
  • $100,000 for finishing in the top two of the Big Ten in scoring offense
  • $100,00 for finishing in the top 10 of the nation in scoring offense


  • $50,000 for each regular season victory exceeding eight
  • $100,000 for finishing in the top two of the Big Ten in scoring defense
  • $100,000 for finishing in the top 10 of the nation in scoring defense

Under Gattis, Michigan currently sits at second in the Big Ten and 15th in the nation in scoring offense. Meanwhile under Macdonald, the Wolverines sit at third in the Big Ten and 10th in the nation in scoring defense.

This Saturday, Gattis will likely have an easier road to improve these numbers compared to Macdonald, as Ohio State’s defense ranks 46th in the nation while its offense ranks first.

As if there wasn’t enough on the line already on Saturday, Michigan’s coaching staff could walk away with a big payday if they can pull off the upset.