Friday, December 5, 2014

Coaching Candidate: Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh
Current position: San Francisco 49ers head coach
Salary: $5,000,000 per year
Head coaching experience: 43-16 at San Francisco 49ers (2011-present), 29-21 at Stanford (2007-2010), 29-6 at University of San Diego (2004-2006), 101-43 overall
History: Jim was born in Toledo, grew up in Ann Arbor while his father was an assistant at Michigan, and graduated high school in Palo Alto, CA. He then came back to Michigan as a quarterback, started for his final three seasons, was named Big Ten Player of the Year as a senior, and was drafted in the 1st round of the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He became a Pro Bowl quarterback with the Indianapolis Colts in 1995. When his career was finished, he coached quarterbacks at Western Kentucky and for the Oakland Raiders before getting the head coaching job at the University of San Diego, where he went 11-1 in each of his last two seasons. He proceeded to improve a moribund Stanford football program from 4-8 in his first year to 12-1 in his final year there. That turned into being hired by the 49ers, for whom he has reached the Super Bowl and two other NFC Championship games. They are 7-5 so far this season, but there are rumblings of discontent from the front office and ownership.
My thoughts: Harbaugh is as intense of a coach as they come, and that's not always the way to go about dealing with NFL players. Frankly, it rubs people the wrong way - at all levels - but millionaires don't like to be treated like college kids. On the flip side, college kids are playing for the love of the game or with a desire to make it to the next level, so they can handle a little more in-your-face intensity. Harbaugh is a proven winner as a player, a college coach, and an NFL coach, and Michigan would be in excellent hands with him. He recruited well at Stanford, and he would be recruiting the same types of players at Michigan - high character, smart athletes who are hard-nosed and disciplined. Furthermore, Harbaugh would have a full complement of returning linemen, tight ends, and running backs as a coach who places a premium on running the ball. The defense is solid, too. The only huge question mark is at quarterback.
Likelihood of coming to Michigan: Some outlets are reporting that it is likely, and some are reporting that it is unlikely. Rivals, on the one hand, is keeping fans' hopes up, but they are somewhat notorious for sending out positive vibes to keep readers happy. NFL people are saying he wants to stay in the NFL. I really have no idea whether he'll come back to Ann Arbor or not, but money would not be an issue (numbers like $8,000,000 per year have been thrown around), he doesn't seem likely to stay in San Francisco, and other potential destinations right now include the moribund Raiders and Jets franchises.

My wish list:
1. Jim Harbaugh
2. Bob Stoops
3. Dan Mullen
4. Les Miles
5. Greg Schiano
6. Tom Herman
7. Pat Narduzzi
8. Mike Shanahan


  1. Please God. I have been a (relatively) good boy this year. Please God, let us have Harbaugh.

  2. Would you really support Les Miles given his decision on Jeremy Hill alone...let alone the pattern that includes Jalen Mills?

  3. Pro Bowl 1995 not 2005.

  4. Replies
    1. Stoops is not coming. Oklahoma is just as a good of a job as Michigan is, and he has no connections to M. He also makes $5 mil a year. Not coming.

    2. @ Micah V Reed

      You make a convincing argument.

  5. "Moribund" twice in the same post? Nicely done.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Everyone know where not gonna get Jim so you guys can quit praying and hoping and all the other candidates are either hot right now but haven't been in the past or proven winners at there schools now so y would they come to Michigan, face it Michigan is built for nothing but success wheither its academics or sports that these coaches are thinking this school can really break your career if u don't succeed right away that's scaring them away people down coach hoke but they were going in the right direction defense got stronger maybe could have added a secondary coach an the offensive line got better we almost rushed for over 2000 yards as a team and I don't pin all the QB sacks on them if u watched all the games. So yeah bad season but everything was pointing in the right direction and the fans blew it cause you guys wanna be babies an cry about not winning this year now we have no coach and have no idea who were gonna hire congrats Michigan fans

    1. @ mjs

      I think the problems with the Hoke regime stemmed more from a lack of preparation/game management than player development. I have concerns about the player development (especially QB), but overall, the players themselves were pretty solid.

      The nails in the coffin for Hoke, to me, are the clock mismanagement, the lack of appropriate personnel on the field, etc. Add to that a consistently declining win total, and that's a recipe for a firing. I've heard arguments that a coach should get at least four years. Well, Hoke had four years. The four years ended with a close win against a struggling Northwestern team, a loss to a weakened Maryland team, and a performance against Ohio State that got out of hand in the fourth quarter - with no real ability to go hurry-up and come back.

      Recruiting was good. The players were good. The system and implementation were bad on the offensive side of the ball and on special teams.

    2. Recruiting rankings were good. Recruiting is only good if you find players that work in your system.

      Guys like Butt and Cole and Lewis look like good recruiting, even though they weren't 5-stars. Guys like Morris, Smith, Barrs are bad recruiting.

      We can't say if recruiting was good or bad until the players produce -- as was argued by many against Rich Rodriguez (who had well rated classes but ended up with a lot of them not producing, for a variety of reasons).

    3. Not one of Hoke's recruits has developed into an all-conference player. (Funchess made media 2nd team, but probably didnt deserve it.)

      After 4 seasons at Michigan I don't see how that's not a failure of player development.

    4. Hoke recruited players who are producing. Given that "his" 2011 recruiting class was only about four weeks' worth of time, that's basically a wash. So you're talking about the 2012-2015 classes, none of whom have passed their junior/redshirt sophomore years.

      You can't say "not one of Hoke's recruits is all-conference" and then say "Well, someone did, but he didn't deserve it." They either made it or they didn't.

      I don't really see De'Veon Smith as "bad recruiting." He's a guy who led the team in rushing touchdowns, but he's probably the third, fourth, or fifth best back on the team. He wasn't an all-everything recruit (247 Composite #21 running back), and the coaching staff has never relied upon him to be their bell cow. If you say he counts as bad recruiting, then what about the guys - on every team across the country - who barely play at all for four or five years?

      I do see failures in player development, but many of the guys who received accolades during Hoke's term DID develop under Hoke, even if they were recruited by other guys. Rodriguez recruited Jake Ryan, but he developed under Hoke. Frank Clark, Willie Henry, Joe Bolden, Jourdan Lewis, Ryan Van Bergen, Jordan Kovacs, Brennen Beyer, etc. - all those guys developed under Hoke.

    5. Funchess didn't make either first team. He made the writers second team, but not the coaches. Does that make him an all-conference player... kinda does, kinda doesn't. Not everything is an absolute.

      Recruiting is about finding players who will produce. They can be rated highly or not, once they are here it doesn't matter.

      With the rise of profile in recruiting rankings people are losing sight of what actually matters in recruiting and what defines success. It's not star rankings or class rankings.

      The guys that have improved dramatically under Hoke are an exception. Along the DL he has done great. Everywhere else it's been slow-going, at best. QB and TE and OL have been really ugly. Countess might have looked better as a freshman. etc.

      These players have not produced. It either bad talent identification or bad player development. Clock management doesn't explain getting blown off the field against Alabama, Notre Dame, MSU and so on.

  8. Harbaugh -- you couldn't really write a more ideal candidate for the Head Coaching position at Michigan unless he won a super bowl or something. He's a fairy tale, and he might be real.

    That said, you have to take everything Rivals says with a grain of salt. They tend to exaggerate to tell Michigan fans what they want to hear.

    It may be true that "money is no object" but I am not making this assumption just yet. Michigan has never quite been there at that level and they are going to be paying Hoke and Brandon a ton of money too, plus looking for a new AD. Their entire budget is less than $150M and their revenues are around 10% of that, so if you're talking about paying somebody $5 to $8M that's still a pretty big deal when there are a lot of attractive candidates out there who could be had for $2 or $3.

    Not that I have any problem paying Harbaugh $8M or whatever. If that's what it takes to get a homerun hire that turns the program around, I think they will make it happen. I just don't think it's completely a "money is no object" scenario where they can pay ridiculous amounts of money to get whoever they want. Nobody is going to offer Bellicik or Saban $25M a year to entice them to AA, for example.

    1. Yup. Money is going to be a big issue given the atrocious buyouts for Dave Brandon (3 mil for an AD? got to be kidding me) and Hoke as well as all the big building projects started by Brandon.

      I understand that Brandon gave millions to the university, but he sure as hell wrecked the athletic department. I hope he finds a job fast so that the school won't have to keep giving him money for not working.

  9. When talking about player development Home first year he had a lot of upper class men thats y u see him have success after that year alot of our players we had to devolop on the fly there pretty good players but the college game is different from high school in so many ways.Now as I said before Home is a defensive coach buy trade in particular LB's n DL and it takes time for a 18 19 year old kid to develop playing those positions so that's y it was a struggle but we always had a top defense under home with the exception of 1 year so from his 2nd year till this year all the player on defense got better we didn't force a lot of turnovers but we were in every game except The Notre Dame game were we didn't ever score. One thing u gotta understand is when the defense is on the field more than the offense theres gonna be busts which what killed us a lot so the defense got better so I don't believe that when u say he didn't develop players cause he did

  10. Now offensively his first year we had stud that were upper classmen to even his second year so he didn't feel the urgent to rush the young players then that wasn't his side of the ball wasn't his specialty so I think he left it up to his coaches n were they failed at was developing the QB ,I say that cause think bout it who plays that position has to b the leader period An play smart every game u gotta have that clock in your head when your passing u gotta read the defense period they fails to devolop that position they new that and so nuss was brought in to fix which I like Gardner but to me it is what it is with him he was predictable team knew he wasn't confident in his arm and his legs nuss new it to but he was our only option a veteran to lead a young team an I believe they tried to make it easy for him but he mad it hard for them he did somethings good but bad things more now had we had an actual true QB we wouldn't b talking bout this stuff we'd be focusing on a championship next year seriously with Wilton speights cause I watched that kid and we shouldn't have redshirted him because I think he was ready but he will put us over the top remember I said it. So it wasn't hoke couldn't develop players the QB position doomed us

  11. The empty recruiting class in between RR and Hoke really hurt us. The bulk of our players on offense were red shirt sophomores learning a new offensive system. All this while going against 5th year seniors on opposing defenses who have been in the same system and on "a college weight program" for 5 years. This is what made things tough but also what gave me hope that they would have improved greatly next year and been really good the year after. The defense would or should have been cruising by then also