Juwan Howard vs Jim Harbaugh

We look at the U-M coaches win percentages, professional playing careers, and notable appearances in pop culture
Juwan Howard - Jim Harbaugh
Juwan Howard (left) leads the University of Michigan men’s basketball team while Jim Harbaugh (left) leads the school’s football team. // Photographs by Michigan Photography, Eric Broson, University of Michigan
In this story, Hour Detroit contributor Fletcher Sharpe dove into how the University of Michigan is clinging to its glory years by renewing the contract of football coach Jim Harbaugh — despite his disappointing record — and why U-M is now a hoops school thanks to men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard. Below, we take a closer look at both coaches.


Juwan Howard: 48

Jim Harbaugh: 57

2021 Base Salary 

Juwan Howard: $2.2 million

Jim Harbaugh: $4 million

Contract Expires

Juwan Howard: April 2024

Jim Harbaugh: End of 2025 season

Wolverine Playing History

Juwan Howard: 1991-94

Jim Harbaugh: 1982-86

Professional Playing Career 

Juwan Howard: 18 seasons with eight NBA teams. Highlight was winning championships in 2012 and 2013 with the Miami Heat.

Jim Harbaugh: 14 seasons with six NFL teams. Highlight was leading Indianapolis Colts to AFC Championship Game in 1995.

Coaching History

Juwan Howard: Assistant coach for Heat from 2013-19. Hired as head coach at U-M in 2019. Highlight was half-time speech to fire up Heat players in the clinching game of the NBA Finals in 2013.

Jim Harbaugh: Head coach of University of California at San Diego from 2004-06, Stanford University from 2007-10, San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14. Hired by U-M in 2015. Highlight was taking 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens coached by his brother, John.

U-M Record by Win Percentage 

Juwan Howard: 71 percent (32-13 as of early February)

Jim Harbaugh: 69 percent (49-22)

Notable Appearances in Pop Culture

Juwan Howard: Appeared in the 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams and had a small role in a 1999 episode of The West Wing.

Jim Harbaugh: Played himself as Screech’s cousin on Saved by the Bell in 1994 and having a meltdown at an auction in a 2018 episode of Detroiters. Also was spotted in the audience of an episode of Judge Judy in 2013.

Famous Quotes Upon Taking the U-M Job

Juwan Howard: “I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that are doubting the fact that I’m a first-time head coach. Well, you’ve got to start somewhere, don’t you?” 

Jim Harbaugh: “There are no turnarounds at Michigan. This is greatness. Long tradition of it.”


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Steve Friess is news and features editor at Hour Detroit and a contributing writer for Newsweek. A Long Island native who earned a journalism degree at Northwestern University, Friess worked at newspapers in Rockford, Illinois, Las Vegas, and South Florida before launching a freelance career in Beijing, China, where he served as chief China correspondent for USA Today. After his return to the U.S. in 2003, he settled in Las Vegas, where he covered the gambling industry and the American Southwest regularly for The New York Times, Playboy, The New Republic, Time, Portfolio, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, New York magazine, and many others. During that time, he created and co-hosted two successful and groundbreaking podcasts, the celebrity-interview show The Strip and the animal affairs program The Petcast. In 2011-12, Friess landed a Knight-Wallace Fellowship for mid-career journalists at the University of Michigan. That was followed by a stint as a senior writer covering the intersection of technology and politics at Politico in Washington, D.C., In 2013, he returned permanently to Ann Arbor, where he now lives with his husband, son, and three Pomeranians. He tweets at @SteveFriess and can be reached at sfriess@hour-media.com.