Michigan Football continues their search for the 20th coach in school history. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers appear poised to run Jim Harbaugh out of town. Is this a coincidence or a perfect storm? Here’s an update from the Mercury News that all but confirms Harbaugh’s days are numbered in San Francisco.
It’s no secret that Harbaugh is Michigan’s top choice to fill their coaching vacancy. That’s why things have been so quiet out of Ann Arbor. Michigan’s AD, Jim Hackett, has been forced into ‘wait on Harbaugh’ mode. Hackett’s first move will either be to hit a grand slam and announce Jim Harbaugh as Michigan’s next coach or in the event Harbaugh says no thanks, and only if he says no thanks, will Hackett then move on to Plan B.
The University announced that they hired a search firm, Korn Ferry, to assist them with the coaching search process. This wasn’t done so much to identify potential candidates, but to start locking in some Plan B options in the event that Harbaugh passes on the job. Who those Plan B options are is a bit unclear. There are however, two names that continue to be mentioned and have not been refuted. They are Bob Stoops and Les Miles.
After losing to the Seahawks on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers have been eliminated from the playoffs. Their final game of the season is Dec. 28, at home against the Cardinals. There were some theories that 49ers owner, Jed York, was going to fire Harbaugh if and when the team was eliminated from the playoff hunt. So it would seem that anytime between now and Dec. 28, that Harbaugh could be relieved of his duties and officially available for Michigan to pursue. All we know for sure right now is that Harbaugh is scheduled to appear at his weekly press conference on Monday at noon (PST).
In a previous article, I compared this wait and see mode that Michigan is in to the wait and see mode mission control was in as they waited for Apollo 13 to emerge from blackout during their reentry to Earth’s atmosphere. What’s it going to take for Harbaugh to emerge from blackout and, like Jim Lovell in Apollo 13 say, “Hello Michigan, it’s good to see you again”?
The University of Michigan has the means to make Harbaugh the highest paid coach in college football. They can offer him the ability to hire top notch assistant coaches. He would be welcomed back to Ann Arbor with open arms. The approval rating for a Jim Harbaugh as Michigan head coach announcement would be be through the roof. This would also send shockwaves through the Big Ten as none of Michigan’s rivals want to see Jim Harbaugh patrolling the sidelines at the Big House next year. He is an outstanding coach and a proven winner.
Vegas weighs in
You can wager on just about anything in Las Vegas and that includes what Jim Harbaugh will be doing in 2015. On Dec. 8, Sportsbook posted odds on where Harbaugh would be coaching in 2015. The Oakland Raiders offered the best odds at -120. The odds on Harbaugh to Michigan were +600 which, in case you were wondering, is not favorable for Michigan. On Saturday, Dec. 13, those odds were reconfigured. Michigan is now the most likely destination at -120 and the Raiders dropped to +120. What this means is a lot of money was being wagered on Harbaugh to Michigan, so much that Sportsbook pulled the bet.
Trades and deadlines
The 49ers were allegedly considering trading Harbaugh to the Browns last year. There are rumors of possible trades this off season. That is a highly unlikely scenario as trading Harbaugh would not be an easy task and he could veto any trade or simply walk away.
I don’t think Michigan is going to issue Harbaugh any ultimatums or give him a take it or leave it deadline. They will wait on him and continue to do everything they possibly can to secure him as Michigan Football’s next head coach.
Once Harbaugh’s fate in San Francisco becomes official, expect things to happen quickly with Michigan. They will offer him the job. If he passes they move on to Plan B options that are believed to be ready to say yes to Michigan.
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