How long will Harbaugh last in Michigan?

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Now that Jim Harbaugh is reportedly doing the unexpected and uprooting from California and heading to Michigan, the question becomes how long he’ll be the Michigan coach?

Harbaugh hasn’t stayed in any one place for very long as a head coach. He spent two years with the Raiders, three at the University of San Diego, and four at Stanford. Now, it will be four and out at San Francisco.

Harbaugh has a reputation for wearing out his welcome and/or burning out within four years. So will it happen in Michigan, where he’ll have to deal with plenty of non-football considerations again, like recruiting and dealing with boosters and administration?

That’ll be the biggest question over the next four years. It’s widely believed that Harbaugh will do extremely well at Michigan; he’s done extremely well everywhere he has been. Maybe he’ll find a way to stay longer at his alma mater than he has elsewhere.

Or maybe the attraction of chasing a Lombardi Trophy eventually will bring him back to the NFL, where his brother (John) and his nemesis (Pete Carroll) have won the last two of them.

Either way, few believe Harbaugh will come close to spending the 20 years in Ann Arbor that Bo Schembechler did. Michigan fans who suffered though the Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke experiments probably won’t mind if it’s only a handful of great seasons.

46 responses to “How long will Harbaugh last in Michigan?

  1. If and when this signing happens I will be so happy I might just shed a tear or two. I love Michigan and J.H. is the perfect choice to not only bring us back but to take the program to unprecedented heights. I don’t think it’s a forgone conclusion that he will only be at Michigan for a few years. Maybe he’s decided that college is where he wants to be? But if he does leave after a few seasons, as long as he grooms his replacement, Michigan will keep rolling.

  2. With athletes changing yearly …. That’s not an issue

    How he gets along with AD and boosters…..might be an issue

    Good coach and a good recruiter

    Good luck Jim

  3. With a few more jobs he’ll start to compete with Next Town Larry Brown of NBA & college hoops.

  4. Not only do I live in Michigan, but I live in Ann Arbor.

    And while I am not a UM fan, it’s being pretty understood that Jimmy is being given the keys and will be allowed to basically run the program without any interference.

    I think that due to this he might be there a long time.

  5. That 65-70 year old range for a man to be a college head coach is tough. You aren’t much more than a figure head at that point and surely can’t relate to the 18-23 year old.

  6. All of Harbaugh’s moves prior to the UM move would be considered promotions. He was working his way up the food chain. Even the UM position could be a promotion considering the money involved. The only way Harbaugh would consider another NFL job is if he would get a situation like Pete Carroll. Harbaugh would be hired by the owner and select the GM, not vice versa. That would eliminate the coach/GM tension. Love him or hate him the man can coach.

  7. When he starts winning at Michigan, the president would give him foot massages on demand if thats what Jim and the rich alumni (who will fervently back a winner with history at the school) want. He will rule the place, and if people in the administration cant stand him, they will just avoid him and let him run the ship. Because he will and should be the most powerful man on campus. So his abrasive personality wont matter as much in college. As long as he wins.

  8. As a chiefs fan i say “thank god jim harbaugh is not coaching the raiders”. It would’ve sucked going against his team twice a year. Yhank you michigan.

  9. Only those close to him know his mindset but the idea of giving back to the university that gave him the opportunity to better his life sounds like a good plan. I think he is best suited for the college game where he can shape and mold bright young men into solid professionals in the NFL and workplace. Take a look around the league folks. How many guys that played for Jim at Stanford are in the NFL right now? Now look at the years prior and since he’s been gone. I rest my case.

  10. This guy reminds me of Parcells. Does a good job in the short term, but then gets wanderlust. At least Bill won a couple of championships. Perhaps he will at UM.

  11. He’ll have roughly thirty days to find a stud QB to turn that program around, along with a stud defensive coordinator and defensive talent. It won’t happen as fast as Stanford, but he’ll eventually turn it around. Whiners making a huge mistake. Baalke is like Belichick in wasting draft picks they have accumulated, but makes it worse by drafting players with questionable character.

  12. 4 years. Then some NFL team will come along with a Brinks truck and promises that “It will be different this time” where he’ll jump back.

    He’ll spend about 3 years in the NFL again and fall back to college.

    Probably at some 2nd tier college location.

    His career path will be similar to Old Ball Coach.

  13. The problem I can see is this;

    Harbaugh is an NFL coach. If he takes the Michigan job, he’ll still be an NFL coach, waiting for another chance. So maybe you have him for 1 maybe 2 years and he flys the coop.

    Then you’re right back to where you were, looking for a coach. I think that scenario would be more disruptive to the program.

    I know, I’m a Badger fan. We just went through it but got lucky to get the guy we wanted in the first place 2 years ago.

  14. Harbaugh heart is in NFL. I think he’s been pushed and prodded to go to Michigan and save it. But is his heart really there? It’s interesting that he has yet to sign anything, with it being a “done deal” and presser scheduled and everything. IF he goes, I’m not sure he stays long enough to affect real change. He wants superbowls, he’s made that known

  15. Harbaugh is a great college coach because he is way immature and acts like a kid. His players are there for 3-4 years, then leave. In the pros, his act grows tiresome and men don’t want to be treated like boys.

  16. Considering what he did at Stanford and the Championship banners to his credit for the 9ers, I’d say they will be blessed to have him! Could be the difference between a good football program and something great, along the lines of Alabama in the SEC.

  17. ON the off chance he actually goes to Michigan, the question isn’t “How long will he last?” It is “How long before he exercises his exit clause and abandons for the team for another gig like so many other college coaches do every year?”

  18. Hairbaugh will run just as he has in the past. His motto is take the money and run when the pan gets hot.

  19. He’ll win a national championship there within 3 years tops, and he’ll be back in the NFL by 2018. He’s unique in that he truly does both jobs very well, which frankly I can’t remember a coach who did. Even Pete Carroll was a terrible NFL HC before he became a good one. NFL teams will be looking to see the next QB he grooms. The last guy he did at a major program, pretty good.

  20. An ‘unexpected’ move that many have been predicting for weeks. Everyone but NFL reporters too proud to say anyone would dare leave the pros. Now, when you have to admit it’s happening, you start predicting a short tenure to badmouth the move. It’s petty. Sad.

  21. 12brichandfamous says:
    Dec 28, 2014 8:55 AM

    He has negotiated full control over athlete discipline…..

    After his discipline in San Fran I hope he hires a lawyer for his players. Yours truly – Niners fan.

  22. The problem I can see is this;

    Harbaugh is an NFL coach. If he takes the Michigan job, he’ll still be an NFL coach, waiting for another chance. So maybe you have him for 1 maybe 2 years and he flys the coop.

    Then you’re right back to where you were, looking for a coach. I think that scenario would be more disruptive to the program.

    I know, I’m a Badger fan. We just went through it but got lucky to get the guy we wanted in the first place 2 years ago.

    as a fellow badger fan…. i will have to disagree. Look at Ferentz…. the first five years they hated him, then the next 5 years they feared he would leave to the NFL…. hate the hawkeyes with my soul but they could never find a better coach….. I am glad the Andersen experiment is over and Chryst is in

  23. I don’t much care where he goes or how long he lasts. I’m just thrilled to have him out of the NFL. He was a cancer on the sidelines and almost unbearable to watch. It’ll be interesting to see how Kaep does without his #1 fan blowing smoke up his arse!

  24. Awww poor NFL writers still can’t let this go. You all got it wrong and he was always headed to Michigan. Now that you have pie on your faces the transition to ‘but he’ll be gone in a few years’ is in full effect. Keep telling your bogus source having selves that.

    You will never understand that while he’s technically ‘going back to college’ he is really going back to Michigan, where his heart is. Can we look forward to 17 more Harbaugh articles that are complete BS and offer zero value? Of course we can!

  25. I think he retires from football after coaching the Wolverines for 15-20 years.

    His youngest kids are just entering school, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays there in Ann Arbor until they all go off to college and through college if they attend Michigan.

    AA is a good, safe place to raise kids. They will be going to private school, Jim is a Roman Catholic.

  26. Niner fans have got to bummed. This was a great coach that took them deep in the playoffs a number of times….how do you replace him? Is there a better option?

    As a cowboy fan I would take him in a second over Garrett

  27. How long does Urban Meyer stay in one place? Who cares? Nick Saban moves around too. These are three of the top coaches in America. I like them moving around. Sometime when a guy stays in place too long he becomes more powerful than the governor. Look what happened when Joe Paterno stayed in one place too long.

  28. He turned down $8 million offered, and asked for $5 million, and more control and money to be given to his coaching staff. He should be loved by people there and have a good run. I expect him to stay for 3~4 years to turn that program into a national sensation, and then come back to NFL to win a few SB titles. A great coach of all time IMO.

  29. Harbaugh has the potential to become something like Nick Saban at Alabama–a perennial contender for the national championship. If he can keep his personality under control and not antagonize the alumni/administration at Michigan, he can own that school for a long, long time. (Of course, he also has to win football games, but I think he’ll do that without too much difficulty.) It will be interesting to see how things unfold for him.

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