Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan tenure isn’t going as well as expected

Getty Images

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh has a habit of staying at each of his coaching stops only four years at a time. University of San Diego, four years. Stanford, four years. 49ers, four years.

But none of those tenures ended because Harbaugh was struggling. To the contrary, he has consistently performed well. The bar, however, rests much higher at Michigan, where many believed that Harbaugh would become Schembechler 2.0 for the Wolverines.

The honeymoon ended a while ago, and the criticism is becoming more pointed in the wake of Saturday’s loss at Wisconsin.

“This is Michigan football right now,” writes Nick Baumgardner of the Detroit Free Press. “A team that’s not ready to sit at the big table. A coaching staff that has a lot of questions to answer. A program that’s got a long way to go.”

The overriding question is how much longer will Harbaugh be the person guiding the program? He continues to be linked via rumors, speculation, and open longing to the Bears. The Colts get mentioned from time to time as well, a move that would reunite him with Andrew Luck — but that also would require Harbaugh to tolerate Jim Irsay.

It’s premature to consider the possibility of Michigan firing Harbaugh. However, he may be starting to consider whether he should walk well before the point where they make him run.

The fact that he played college football at Michigan will make it harder for Harbaugh to separate from the program, but a nagging sense has lingered that Harbaugh will at some point return to the NFL. With the Wolverines under Harbaugh not competing for championships, it’s impossible to slam the door on Harbaugh cutting his four-years-and-out routine short by a season and pouncing on the opportunity to get yet another fresh start at a level where he has gotten much closer to the top of the mountain than he ever has (and possibly ever will) in the college ranks.

The Bears, the Colts, and undoubtedly others would be interested, if Harbaugh is in play. The question of whether he is in play will come in to focus within the next several weeks, beginning with the immediate aftermath of what would be his third straight loss to Ohio State — or what would be only the program’s third win over the Buckeyes since 2001.

40 responses to “Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan tenure isn’t going as well as expected

  1. Not true. The Stanford program didn’t breakthrough until the 4th year. When he had two solid recruiting classes on his roster.

    Same thing will happen at Michigan. This is the year that a school’s 2015 recruiting class is supposed to be making an impact. Harbaugh did not have a chance to recruit that year. He was transitioning as Michigan Head Coach from the NFL. He only had like 10 commits.

    Like I said his 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes have 44 four star recruits the 2016 class will start making an impact next season…judge Harbaugh then.

    Also if Tarik Black didn’t get injured their season would have been a little different.

  2. Harbaugh has done magical things at every stop. He’s the best football coach in the world. He takes over teams that are down at the bottom and almost instantly gets them to the top of the heap. In college, it does take a couple years to get some decent recruits. Harbaugh always ends up leaving for better opportunities, because better offers keep coming up. The 49ers’ organization was a complete joke. They only hired Harbaugh because they needed to get that stadium deal done, and they let him go as soon as that happened. He did, however, manage to get them to a super bowl with a QB who can’t even get signed as a third stringer. That in itself makes Harbaugh the best coach in the world.

  3. It took Bo 12 years to win a Bowl game. Jim won one in his first.

    He is exactly what Michigan needs and needs for a long time. I want to see what a 20 year record at Michigan will look like, writes stop trying to influence the world and just report.

  4. This illustrates a huge problem in big college football programs, their fans expect and demand playing for a National Championship every year. It’s just not possible yet teams like Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Ohio State, Michigan, etc have and will fire or push out excellent coaches because of these insane expectations.
    Jim Harbaugh is an excellent coach yet here we are talking about him leaving, it’s crazy.

  5. The fact remains that while we have great facilities, are a superb university, have the biggest college stadium, and great tradition, any coach we hire also has to compete with SEC and West Coast weather and life style. It is hard to recruit kids to come live and play in weather like we had against MSU and how they had yesterday. The SEC has a way richer football talent pool from which to recruit, and we’ll see how well JH can do over time in recruiting from the entire country. So far he’s done well, and he should continue to recruit well. Once more of his guys are on the team it will be fairer to judge him then. So far his win/loss record is not great, but I’m willing to give him a couple more years before I start to whine like many fans are already doing….

  6. As an OSU fan I have to say that this is ludicrous. Michigan was a few plays away from being in the playoffs last year and lost half their team to graduation this year. Fire Harbaugh and who are you bringing in to replace him?

  7. Bo Schembecler never won a national championship and had a 5-12 record. So I wouldn’t be falling back on those standards. Harbaugh was a controversial 4th down spot against Ohio State of going to the college playoff in his second year in a state that doesn’t have lots of home grown talent to pick from.

    Furthermore, there are literally 4 active coaches with a national championship on their resume with one of the guys currently 4-6 and facing having to fire most of his staff, which would make one think that it’s pretty hard to win one.

  8. I don’t know what to think about Harbaugh. I doubt he gets fired. But if he wants to return to the pros, he would have his pick of the Colts or Bears at least.

    That being said, he might finally have found his star QB at Michigan in Peters. Would he leave without at least getting him a full reason as the Starter? I don’t know.

    This has been a painful year but yeah, half the class graduated. This was never a national championship season, it was sure to be a rebuilding year.

    But would he really leave if he never beats Ohio State? That would stick in his craw for a long time. Even HOKE had a win vs Ohio State!

  9. It will take the right pieces to fall but if Oakland misses the playoffs it’s a prime landing spot for him. He was able to take over a stacked 49ers roster and win.

  10. Funny how these reports listen to one another and create news stories (but really are options pulled out of their behinds). They are the ones calling for this and that and they will take a story from any ONE person and make it seem as if it is some prevailing truth or Team owner or Athletic Director saying this or that. That is not how the real professionals operate. But here we go again “click bait reporting”. THEY BEGIN TO BELIEVE THEIR OWN CRAP!!!

  11. “and open longing to the Bears”

    No wonder that writer is no longer an every day member of the media. He wants Harbaugh as coach of the Bears because Harbaugh liked him? Unprofessional.

  12. Or
    Harbaugh’s tenure at MI is going about as well as many expected.
    It’s not like everyone said this was s slam dunk hire.
    Obvious hire, yes.
    Best hire? There was much ‘we’ll see’ and even ‘smiles from MI rivals.

  13. goodluckking says:
    November 19, 2017 at 10:03 am
    “It took Bo 12 years to win a Bowl game. Jim won one in his first.”

    ————–
    Because it’s not as easy to win a bowl game when there aren’t 150 every year.

  14. charliecharger says:
    November 19, 2017 at 9:44 am
    Harbaugh has done magical things at every stop. He’s the best football coach in the world. He takes over teams that are down at the bottom and almost instantly gets them to the top of the heap. In college, it does take a couple years to get some decent recruits. Harbaugh always ends up leaving for better opportunities, because better offers keep coming up. The 49ers’ organization was a complete joke. They only hired Harbaugh because they needed to get that stadium deal done, and they let him go as soon as that happened. He did, however, manage to get them to a super bowl with a QB who can’t even get signed as a third stringer. That in itself makes Harbaugh the best coach in the world.

    By that logic, John Fix is really the best coach in the world because he got a playoff win out of Tim Tebow.

  15. In a world where expectations for coaches is way over the top I don’t see any objective criticism that Harbaugh should be on a short leash at Michigan.. Let’s see how he does with another complete recruiting class in 2018. Michigan is already Bowl qualified. They play hard despite weaknesses at QB and a few defensive spots..

  16. I had a good laugh at the folks who say Harbaugh just needs more time and recruiting classes before he can be expected to beat juggernauts like Wisconsin.

  17. The guy had a championship caliber team with Colin Kaepernick playing QB. If that isn’t a dead giveaway indication of a great coach, I don’t know what is. Let his recruiting classes develop.

  18. I am plenty happy with him as our coach. There is way too much impatience with collegiate programs these days. He’s already done an amazing job with turning things around, and give him a couple more years at least before passing judgement!

  19. He’s 8-3 with a team that’s playing with its 3rd string QB by now.

    He took over a team that went 5-7 and has gone 10-3, 10-3, and now 8-3.

    I can’t imagine how anybody thinks this is evidence of failure, but if you want to fire him…as a long-suffering Chicago Bears fan, we’ll gladly take that kind of “failure.”

  20. Why would a pro team want him his track record there stinks. College is a lot of raw raw ree that fits him.

  21. He will be coaching Luck in Indy next year and turn that franchise around like every where he goes. If that alcoholic owner Irsay is smart, he will hand him a blank check

  22. boknowsvt says:
    November 19, 2017 at 11:02 am
    I’ll never understand why coaches leave the pros to coach in the minor leagues.

    9

    30

    Rate This

    How about $9 million dollars a year, more then he would be making in the NFL and half the work. Do you think he works nearly as hard in college as he would be if he was a pro coach. You fool?! They recruit only a few months and leave it up to the assistants to do the dirty work. They are limited to how many hours they can practice and meet with athletes. His job is a joke compared to the demands of being an nfl coach.. get a clue mcfly!

  23. Here’s what I think the problem is. I watch a Michigan football game on TV, and every few minutes they show him ranting and raving on the sideline. I am tired of him by the end of the first quarter. I can only imagine how the players who have to listen to him every single day feel.

  24. The competition is definitely fierce. Everyone familiar with UM football knew that this year’s team is an 18 month project. Talent rich roster needs experience. 2018-2019 will be the years that determine how Jim Harbaugh’s tenure is going at UM.

  25. yankeemofo says:
    November 19, 2017 at 11:34 am
    goodluckking says:
    November 19, 2017 at 10:03 am
    “It took Bo 12 years to win a Bowl game. Jim won one in his first.”

    ————–
    Because it’s not as easy to win a bowl game when there aren’t 150 every year
    _______

    And in Schembechler’s era the Big 10 only allowed its champion to go to a bowl game.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!