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Jim Harbaugh named 2021 AP Coach of the Year

Harbaugh led Michigan to its first Big Ten title since 2004 and first ever trip to the College Football Playoff.

2021 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

It’s been a satisfying few weeks for Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh and he now has yet another personal accolade to put on his resume.

Harbaugh was named the 2021 AP Coach of the Year on Friday, becoming the first Michigan coach to receive the award, and the first Big Ten coach to win the honor since Joe Paterno in 2005.

The seventh-year UM head coach led the Wolverines to a 12-1 mark this fall, his best season in Ann Arbor, but more importantly conquered demons that haunted the program. Michigan finally slayed Ohio State in a 42-27 bulldozing, ending an eight-game losing streak to its hated rival. The team followed that up by demolishing Iowa 42-3 in the Big Ten Championship Game the following week, laying claim to the program’s first conference title since 2004.

And now the Wolverines are prepping for their first ever trip to the College Football Playoff, where they’ll face Georgia in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve. This is night and day compared to their miserable 2-4 campaign in 2020, where some were calling for Harbaugh to be let go.

Finishing behind Harbaugh were Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell in second, Baylor’s Dave Aranda in third, Michigan State’s Mel Tucker in fourth, and Georgia’s Kirby Smart in fifth.