Michigan reportedly makes run at Jim Harbaugh

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When it first became obvious Brady Hoke wouldn’t be back next year as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, a report suggested that the folks at Ann Arbor were more interested in John Harbaugh (who didn’t go to Michigan) than Jim (who did).

Now, Michigan apparently has a keen interest in the soon-to-be-former 49ers coach.

Per multiple reports, Michigan has offered Harbaugh the job.  The package leaked to the media would pay Harbaugh $8 million per year over six years.

That’s far more than Harbaugh currently makes in San Francisco, and far more than the 49ers had offered in failed negotiations on a new deal.  The impasse arose, as one source with knowledge of the talks previously told PFT, because Harbaugh wanted to be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach without, you know, winning a Super Bowl.

If the offer from Michigan, where it’s easy to finance a large coaching salary since the players get jack squat and free snacks, is real, he’d be paid like a Super Bowl-winning coach without winning a Super Bowl and without ever competing for one for as long as he’s at Michigan.

The leak and its origin suggest that Harbaugh’s agent hopes to use the offer as leverage in talks with interested NFL teams.  If Michigan will pay $8 million per year, how much will the Raiders, Dolphins, or other interested team fork over?  With the talent gap among teams as narrow as ever, a great coach can be the difference between mediocrity and a championship; great coaches at the NFL are worth far more than they currently get.

The possibility that Harbaugh will leave for Michigan also pressures Jed York and company to be very reasonable in any trade talks regarding Harbaugh.  If he chooses to go back to college, the 49ers get nothing.

Then again, the 49ers may prefer that outcome, since they wouldn’t have to worry about Harbaugh finishing with another franchise that which he started in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, some have suggested that Harbaugh wouldn’t use his alma mater as leverage for a better NFL job.  Why shouldn’t he?  Harbaugh played football there at a high level.  In return he got jack squat, without the free snacks.

132 responses to “Michigan reportedly makes run at Jim Harbaugh

  1. well if he takes that job, he is just admitting that he can’t hang with the big boys, and need to compete at the next lower level…..the worse NFL coaches are way better any college level coach

  2. Harbaugh has been coaching in California since 2002, and in Northern California since 2007. He’s not leaving the Bay Area. It’s either gonna be the 49ers or Raiders.

  3. That is insane money no matter who the coach is. $8 million would set the bar of expectations so high the guy could be awesome from Day 1 and still end up looking like a failure.

    And I haven’t seen much on this, but how are they going to hire a coach without an AD? Seems like that would turn off top AD candidates and also potentially scare away top coaching candidates. If the coach comes first will he really see himself as being under whoever the new AD is? What if their personalities clash? Lots of potential for problems there.

  4. His regular season record as an NFL head coach is 43-17-1, appearing in 3 nfc championships and a superbowl.

    But yeah, he doesn’t have what it takes to hang with the big boys. I guess I shouldn’t expect a raiders fan to know anything about that.

  5. Michigan will still suck. They can not recruit in Florida or Texas so they will be stuck with the same old bums they always have.

    SEC RULES. (sometimes the ACC too)

  6. getakluwe says:
    Dec 17, 2014 6:50 PM
    How many people will he alienate for every dollar they pay him?

    —————————–

    You’re talking about Michigan people. They won’t be happy unless they have something to complain about.

  7. One of the best jobs in all of football, one of the few college jobs I think is worth leaving the NFL for.

    Harbaugh’s style seems better suited for the college game and he is a perfect fit for Michigan. Go home Jim and treat us college football fans to many years of Harbaugh versus Meyer UM-OSU matchups.

  8. Well he took over a team loaded with talent, got rid of a decent QB (Smith) for a QB who can’t hit the barn wall if he was inside the barn, in his time in SF the team has fallen off each year, My point being he shouldn’t be paid like a superbowl winning coach till he wins one… He seems to have a mighty big ego, but can’t quite seem to finish…no pun intended

  9. I think he is too good for Michigan in all honesty. Harbaugh was just a few plays away from going to 3 straight SBs and a play away from possibly winning one. He is a damn good coach and the 49ers are wrong for how they are treating him. They will regret letting him go.

  10. I think Harbaugh might be better in a college setting. He definitely is great competitor and motivator. He works with and develops young people for a couple years before the athlete moves to the next level, and the university would have his back.

    While in the NFL, Harbaugh had real problems with the PR side of the business; He constantly misspoke or got surly with the media and his attitude bled over to his players.
    He also has problems with pro athletes who sulk all year over contract disputes or do stupid things during the off season.

  11. Ohio State fans should hope this happens. As a seahawk fan I love watching him cry on the sideline as we beat him and its been 4 in a row. Not to mention he’s really good at almost winning a championship. So if Michigan likes getting close but choking at the end they should be happy with him. As a fan that hates him its much more fun to watch him choke at the end and have childish fit on the sidelines.

  12. Will never happen

    He could have gotten the job in ’11 and he didn’t want it

    He was just a few plays away from being in three straight Super Bowls and his down year is finishing at 7 to 9 wins with tons of injuries

    He’s an NFL coach and someone will pay him what he wants and us 49er fans will suffer

    Iron Sharpens Iron

  13. I think Michigan is Harbaugh’s backup plan if he can’t find a good head coaching gig in the NFL.

    8 million for a backup plan doesn’t suck. I wish I had a backup plan like that.

  14. If he takes the Michigan job I’d like to offer my services as his Assistant Coach/Recruiter. I’m willing to work for $8 an hour and I think it would massively boost his success from the value I can add. And I went to school there as well if that counts for anything beyond being a one-of-a-kind asset!

  15. As much as he talks about “competing” and “competing at the highest level” I do not see him going to a college job at this point in his career. If this is true, 8 mil is a great starting point for Mr. Ross, Mr. Davis and others to open the conversation with.

  16. As a long time 49er fan I think he should go…The team has a running back who is in his twilight, a tight end who doesn’t perform, a quarterback who doesn’t get it, an aged wide receiver at the end of his time. He also is tied to an OC with zero imagination (that he will have to deal with). He will take his defensive coordinator…So in summary let Jed Dork and his front office puppets have fun. From now on they are the Santa Clara 49ers in my mind…Don’t tarnish the SF 49ers memory….

  17. Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban both won national championships in college, but didn’t have as much success in the NFL. To have success in the NFL you have to draft well, so you rely on others. In college you have to recruit well, and you rely on yourself for that. Also, in the NFL the worst team gets the first pick. In college the best teams get the best recruits. I grew up an Ohio State fan. Now I like Michigan too. M GO BLUE!

  18. If the offer from Michigan, where it’s easy to finance a large coaching salary since the players get jack squat and free snacks,
    ======================================

    And a free college education.

  19. Not only is the athlete being kept unpaid, but do you know how much of a waste everyone’s tuition money will be once it goes to Jim Harbaugh??

  20. the wife said she wants to stay in the bay….a happy wife is a happy life, and Jim knows that.

  21. A step down from the NFL?

    So….If some company with less prestige than your company offered you 4x your current salary you’d stay in you job? Because of the prestige? O.k. buddy….

    Also – Harbaugh is a proven NFL coach. The record speaks for itself, he took a team that didn’t go to the playoffs the year before (almost identical roster) to the NFC Championship game. Then the Superbowl. Then Another NFC Championship Game. Then got nailed by injuries, distractions, and his QB not adapting well to an expanded playbook. 1 ok year out of 4 is pretty good.

    Going to Michigan or an any other college team wouldn’t hurt his stock one bit and if you don’t see that you’re firmly in the “Love The Commercials” crowd.

  22. This is a smart move. NCAA players want to get ready for the NFL. Harbaugh will do that. He gets players ready.

    Sure Saban wins, but more of his players are duds, not studs. This will pay off for Michigan if Harbaugh delivers.

  23. Miami will probably fire Philbin. Rose could offer 7 million/year + incentives for playoffs/AFCC/SB appearances that could top out around 9 million in a year if the team wins the SB. With no state taxes it would be hard to beat that kind of offer.

  24. “If the offer from Michigan, where it’s easy to finance a large coaching salary since the players get jack squat and free snacks …”

    Stop with this nonsense. Players get a scholarship, which isn’t cheap at most places, not to mention free “tutors.” If they choose to take advantage of their educational opportunity, they can set themselves up for a better life than they would have otherwise. So tired of this garbage.

  25. although i would like to see Ohio State finally get knocked off as the best big ten team, my gophers will never be able to beat a team Jim Harbaugh assembles. damn.

  26. Talk from the “so called experts” is his wife wants to stay in Bay Area I can understand that, but I can give you 8 million reasons to move…Also as a coaches wife she knows there are 0 guarantee’s…Urban Myer vs Jim Harbaugh could be fun…Jim dump the SC 49ers and bring your passion to the Big 10 where they appreciate good coaches……

  27. andreboy1 says:
    Dec 17, 2014 7:13 PM
    Will never happen

    He could have gotten the job in ’11 and he didn’t want it

    He was just a few plays away from being in three straight Super Bowls and his down year is finishing at 7 to 9 wins with tons of injuries

    He’s an NFL coach and someone will pay him what he wants and us 49er fans will suffer

    Iron Sharpens Iron

    4 8
    Report comment
    =====================================

    You said he’s an NFL coach. He’s a coach who has coached two different college teams, including Andrew Luck while at Stanford and coached the Niners.

    So he’s a coach, not just an NFL coach.

    Things have changed since 2011. The Niners had a very bright future then and he was still riding that wave. They were very good and looked to compete for years and they did.

    But they have fallen short this season on the field. On top of that there has been many stories about the front office and him not getting along. I’m not sure how it was in 2011 but there has been a good bit of time since then.

    He WANTED a new extension with the Niners but he did NOT receive one. I’m sure that’s weighing on his mind too.

    Also, Saban is the highest paid college coach at $7.3 million so he’d rocket up to being the highest paid college coach. Oh, he’s “only” making like $5 million or so right now for the Niners and he has no contract extension.

    If he doesn’t take the Michigan job he’ll use it to leverage another NFL head coaching position by using their offer against the Raiders, Dolphins or another team that might be interested in him.

    Jim will leave the Niners. Now it remains to be seen where. Depending on how long the Michigan offer will remain on the table plays into this too.

  28. One problem with the Michigan job is recruting season has begun…Tough to play catch-up. I will bet Ohio State etc are not going to wait until Michigan hires a coach

  29. “If the offer from Michigan, where it’s easy to finance a large coaching salary since the players get jack squat and free snacks, ”

    Current cost of attendance for out-of-state Freshmen at Michigan is 55k. If the IRS changes its rules, all of that is taxable income because it’s compensation.

    So yeah, they’re getting “nothing.”

    And before anyone says anything about money the football program brings in, I have a very hard time believing that football covers all of it’s expenses. Not when they want to pay Mr. Personality 8m a year.

  30. Please come back to Chicago, Jim. Redeem whatever you did as a Bear and make the past forgotten. Nothing would be greater.

    I hope someone gets this message to him.

  31. “Players get jack get squat” – I didn’t know a free ride at a top school in the country constituted as “jack squat.”

    College players go to school to get a degree and “earn” an education. Too bad they throw it away and play in the NFL for 1-3 years then become used car salesmen… it’s too bad they didn’t take advantage of their position.

    #NoSympathy

  32. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 17, 2014 7:15 PM

    If he takes the Michigan job I’d like to offer my services as his Assistant Coach/Recruiter. I’m willing to work for $8 an hour and I think it would massively boost his success from the value I can add. And I went to school there as well if that counts for anything beyond being a one-of-a-kind asset!
    —————
    Free speech is a beautiful thing. However, if you went to Michigan and are willing to work for $8 an hour, you either dropped out early or your parents have a building on campus named after them.

    As for Harbaugh, he lost a Super Bowl game. To a Harbaugh. He’s the loser brother at family gatherings. Michigan cannot erase that stain. Look for Jimmy to take a Sunday job somewhere.

  33. If he wants the money, he’ll re-sign and sign with Michigan, if he wants to stay in the NFL, he will be traded. Niners don’t want to fire him for nothing. It’s not like he’s being paid $8 million a year like Sean Payton. Niners will hold out for the best offer or the best coach that they want.

  34. Miami will probably fire Philbin. Rose could offer 7 million/year + incentives for playoffs/AFCC/SB appearances that could top out around 9 million in a year if the team wins the SB. With no state taxes it would be hard to beat that kind of offer.
    —————————————————

    Some of Ross’ money will be going toward a Michigan offer. Major Michigan guy.

  35. In a state with high unemployment, I think offering a college football coach $8M per year is not going to go over well. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds between now and the weekend.

  36. If true, that’s one desperate College.

    After he talked all that smack about Michigan while at Stanford.

    Well I guess the old adage is… losing humbles you.

    Just know Michigan, that in your weakened condition and Harbaugh being a crazy and a control freak, he would take over that program and run it his way… for better or worse.

  37. Jack squat must be French for a free University of Michigan education, a free place to stay, free meals and supplements, free healthcare, a free fitness regimen. Add that to fame and notoriety…and a job after school that pays in the hundreds of thousands. Perhaps a few Big Blue t shirts and souvenirs as well.

    Yup, he got nothing out of the University of Michigan.

  38. Harbaugh seemed to able to recruit high academic blue chip players to Stanford, who before Harbaugh arrived, was always at a recruiting disadvantage in the PAC 10. Now I see Stanford is heading back down to where they were before Harbaugh. Michigan will get the same kids Harbaugh was recruiting to Stanford. We’ll soon forget about Michigan’s recruiting disadvantage.

  39. To all the uninformed people saying that jim harbaugh is better suited for college:

    29 wins – 21 losses at Stanford

    No PAC-10 championships (ZERO – ZIP – ZILCH)

  40. Some people chase money, some people chase their passion. It is dumb, plain dumb, to say he would be a moron for not taking the UM job. He’s going to do what he wants to do, not weigh pros and cons. Keep Jim, fire the front office. He’s said all along that he has a contract and he intends to honor it. His departure will not be his decision if it happens this off season. I hope he stays so I can hear everyone whine about his “whining”. I’ve never seen the words whine and reproach misused as much as this site. I would love to know your definitions of reproach and what it means to be above reproach..

  41. B. Michael Krol says: Dec 17, 2014 8:01 PM

    “If the offer from Michigan, where it’s easy to finance a large coaching salary since the players get jack squat and free snacks, ”

    Current cost of attendance for out-of-state Freshmen at Michigan is 55k. If the IRS changes its rules, all of that is taxable income because it’s compensation.

    So yeah, they’re getting “nothing.”

    And before anyone says anything about money the football program brings in, I have a very hard time believing that football covers all of it’s expenses. Not when they want to pay Mr. Personality 8m a year.
    ————-
    Michigan football is a money-maker. It more than covers expenses. Far more. It supports other sports as well. Paying a coach $8M is less than twice what Hoke was getting paid, and nobody barked about that.

  42. Jim can’t accept until he is fired so Michigan will look bad spinning in the wind waiting. They might have to wait until February just to get a NO. Michigan needs to deny this so they can keep interviewing.

  43. MF I know that the players at MIchigan get “jack squat and free snacks” for pay, but can you tell me what a full 4 year scholarship cost? Also how mush. Do they get “under the table”?

  44. Harbaugh was brought in to fix Alex Smith and the offense. He did that immediately and the 49ers looked to be a young team competing for the super bowl for years. This season has been a disaster on and off the field. Van gio still has the defense playing at a high level, but it’s the offense and the specific position that harbaugh is supposed to be elite at in quarterback holding this team back. All on Greg Roman who has been a hot coordinator head coaching candidate the past few seasons that the offense has dramatically regressed. Either harbaugh hires an nfl offensive coordinator, or he can take his staff back to college as only van gio will be missed. Harbaugh is a good but not great coach, as a 49ers fan I’d welcome pep Hamilton

  45. If I’m Mark Davis, I tell him to go to Michigan if they’re willing to go that high.
    It’s not like he’s a legendary coach. He’s still building his resume.
    The fact that he couldn’t sustain what he started, or fix Kaepernick, or the offense in general, tells me that he’s a little over-valued at the moment.
    Let someone else take a beating on a contract. Catch him when his price is more realistic later.
    Besides… He’s clearly an enormous pain in the hind-quarters.
    I’m not entirely sure he’s worth the headache.

    It’s not my money, but I wouldn’t get into a bidding war for him. Let him go where the money is.

  46. There’s been a pattern with Harbaugh’s coaching. At Stanford, he couldn’t beat Oregon even with Andrew Luck and a great defense.
    In SF, he’s been left one game short every year.
    This year, he’s actually done a poor job overall, especially with Kap and the offense.
    With his maniacal ways, he’s good at turning things around, but he can’t seem to get over the hump due to critical thinking errors at the worst possible moments (his last 4 offensive plays of the SB vs Ravens).
    He’s been very good, but never great.

  47. 2010 Alex Smith BEFORE harbaugh = 215 yards per game

    2011 Alex Smith AFTER harbaugh = 196 yards per game

  48. If Vic Fangio goes with Jimbo to Michigan Jimbo will have success, even with his current OC. But if Vic does not go with Jimbo, he will not be successful because he and his OC suck at offensive football.

  49. 49ers don’t want him, if he wants to coach in the NFL next yr a team will have to pay some draft picks to get him, he can go to Michigan and that will be no skin off the 49ers back as long as he isn’t in the NFL, they already moved on from him….

  50. If the Raiders have the chance to get Harbaugh. .and they don’t pull the trigger simply due to not wanting to fork over 8 to 9 million a year..they are insane.

    You just paid 6 million and draft picks last year for Matt flynn and got a grand total of 1 game from him before we cut him..paid 8 million and more draft picks to Schaub this year to hold for field goals. That’s $14 million over 2 years while h got us 6 wins…no chance…and no hope. 8 million for a proven coach is peanuts.

  51. Some idiot radio talkinghead was claiming he would have trouble recruiting or winning at Michigan.

    Like rebuilding a bottomed out Stanford, or starting from scratch at USD, and winning at both, was easier than selling the all-time winningest program.

  52. If the 49ers let him go, it will be a huge mistake. Three NFC championships in a row and 1 SB appearance. Which of the 49ers executives is going to do that for them?

    Imagine the NFC West next year with healthy QBs (and everyone else) in Arizona and St. Louis, and the 49ers suddenly without Harbaugh. Straight to the cellar.

  53. Ya know, im not a Niners fan in the least bit. However, just because a team cant hack it to the superbowl every year doesnt mean coach sucks. The guy has his defense in the top 5 with scrub corners, and his two top tier middle linebackers. Mabye he isnt the best offensive coach, but some blame should go to the offensive coach. If not most of it. Give the guy a break. Niners fans will be sorry when hes gone.

  54. Anyone who thinks college athletes aren’t compensated has not recently paid for a college education. And don’t forget that football revenue has to pay for women’s volleyball, etc to travel all over while generating no revenue. As for Mr. Harbaugh what is not up for debate is his ability to win.

  55. If Harbaugh takes the job I believe he will be able to recruit with the big boys. He has enough clout & enthusiasm to entice young guys to play for him. I hope he accepts bc it will be nice to see B1G get competitive again.

  56. Raiders are too cheap to cough up extra for Harbargh so they won’t be a viable choice. But the Dolphins always overpay (example: Mike Wallace) so I can see him going there.

  57. Just curious but how would this affect the 49ers? What would happen to the remainder of his contract?
    Not much of a benefit if he goes to a college team. If they can convince him to go to an NFL team they could at least finagle some draft picks.

  58. It’s not the great job that it once was.
    Let’s see go down a level and coach in the cold or compete with the pros in the sunshine?
    Easy choice.

  59. He’s as good as gone, unless the Dolphins blow him away with a package to get him to Miami or the Raiders do the same. I think he’s going to Michigan all the way, his wife will get over it once she sees that check he’s gonna be making and don’t think Harbaugh won’t jump at another NFL opportunity because he will and he can be patient while coaching Michigan.

  60. The two coaches hired by Big Ten programs since the end of the regular season have a combined record of 104-113 in their last jobs.

    Michigan fans should be happy that at least their school is chasing a coach who actually knows how to win.

  61. He should take the money and run like the wind. Michigan is a pro team but with, it appears, deeper pockets. Michigan is still looking for Bo and the last run of guys were awful. Rodriguez took two years to recruit his spread offense guys but couldn’t recruit the rest of the team for beans.

    If he weren’t an alum, this wouldn’t even be a topic of conversation. I’m sure he gets pissed every time he sees OSU win the big game every year as much as any other Michigan fan.

  62. Harbaugh was brought in to fix Alex Smith and the offense

    False. He brought Alex back to the niners from free agency, while literally nobody wanted him to do.

  63. Take the money go to college.

    17 week regular season plus 4 preseason games plus play offs.

    Versus 12 college games and a 2 game play off.
    there is no comparison to be made. More value in college less headache. But you have to live in a crap hole.

  64. Management has already said they’re ok with him leaving to go back to college. They would be off the hook for his $5 million next year if he did, so they’d be jumping for joy to see him go.

  65. I doubt he takes the job anyway…it would be admitting that he couldn’t cut it in the pros (which is currently true).

  66. The $ is huge, but it’s what it says! If they’re willing to pay Jim that much to return to Michigan, they’re willing to give him total control. He’d have the power of Bo before the results.

    I think this would be great for the Big (pick a number)! Michigan-Ohio State would be on again!

  67. On a side note, this would totally flip the Harbaugh family dynamic. For years, Jim was deemed the more successful one with his college & pro careers. John was an average athlete that played at a small school. Now, if Jim goes back to college, John will have a ring and no losses to Jim. Big brother is top dog now!

  68. Watch this dumpster fire burn to the sky when he turns ’em down. How much are they gonna offer the next candidate? $6M? (You’re only 3/4 as good a coach as Harbaugh…) $4M? (You’re only half as good as Harbaugh)…

  69. I know he’s a Michigan grad, but coaching at Michigan is pointless. UMThere’s no chance of him winning anything there so if he wants to coach in college, wait for a SEC job to open up.

    He will use that offer as a bargaining chip with some NFL team and get paid at least that.

  70. I know he’s a Michigan grad, but coaching at Michigan is pointless. UMThere’s no chance of him winning anything there so if he wants to coach in college, wait for a SEC job to open up.

    He will use that offer as a bargaining chip with some NFL team and get paid at least that.

  71. No taxpayer money involved. Michigan is one of the few programs to be totally self sufficient and has been for MANY years, even before big tv contracts (thank you Big House).

    Of course this puts JH in a great bargaining position. He will be well paid wherever he goes. So the money is there, Jim, go where your heart is.

    MESSAGE to MRS. HARBAUGH :

    Ann Arbor is not The BAy. It’s better. A place to raise kids in reality, good Midwestern values, and for those of you who have been to the west coast of Michigan ( think Traverse City, Leland, Harbor Springs)
    You will soon forget Big Sur!

  72. Eight million per year is proof of the insanity that runs college football.
    Let’s review: Too few college football players at the major schools graduate with their class. Too take actual college level courses. Too many have reported as arriving without basis academic skills. Too many have reported taking no-show jobs for pay. Too many have reported their work being done for them, including attendance. Too many have the audacity to sue their schools for failing to teach them. Too many have been busted for taking material goods under the table. Too many have been busted for gambling and cheating.
    The governing body overlooking all this wrong-doing has been unable to clean it up, or even make a dent in the problems.
    For every academically-unprepared jock who shows up in August, an academically prepared actual student, is turned away.
    The National Felon League for decades has shamelessly, openly used college football as their free minor league.
    Time to overhaul, change, and bring a halt to the nonsense.
    College football is big business. Time to recognize and treat it like one. Pull major college football programs off the campuses and turn them into minor leagues, renting the college stadiums instead. Let some serious money be made, honestly. No more pretending the student-athlete thing is actually working. No more falsifying academic records, forging grades and research papers and exam results and attendance records. No more sham.
    Colleges can actually turn their attention to, you know, actually educating those who want an honest useful education, skills that will benefit themselves, and the communities where they live.
    Kids who want pro careers can go to the minors and play their little hearts out, without false pretenses.
    But, hey, what do I know? I have zero fascination with any school being ranked 17th every year…..

  73. Don’t know how much leverage it is when all any owner has to say is “But you didn’t win the big one; why should I pay you squat?”

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