Michigan has reportedly found its man to replace Brady Hoke. Former Wolverines quarterback Jim Harbaugh will be hired to lead his alma mater, according to Michigan author John U. Bacon, as the Wolverines were able to lure him away from the NFL and his contentious yet successful run with the San Francisco 49ers. This follows a report by Brian Cook of MGoBlog that set the likelihood of Harbaugh's return to Ann Arbor at 99 percent.
"Jim Harbaugh is coming to Michigan," Bacon tweeted Sunday night, "and his friends are flying in Monday."
Update, December 28: Harbaugh and the 49ers have "mutually parted ways," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That language could be key for Michigan, since it could confirm the reports that the Niners would not force Michigan to pay his buyout, in order to help keep him away from another NFL team. Multiple NFL reporters said Sunday that the Raiders still hope to try for him.
"Jim Harbaugh's family is flying to Ann Arbor Monday," FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman tweeted earlier Sunday. "Harbaugh will be Wolverines new head coach."
He was reportedly offered a six-year, $48 million deal, which would make him the highest-paid college coach in the country if true.
Harbaugh was often touted as the dream hire for Michigan, due to his connections with the school and his success at every single coaching spot. In 2013, Harbaugh said Ann Arbor was his "favorite place to live," and his family and friends had reportedly been encouraging him to take the Michigan job. The Michigan community was also in support of hiring Harbaugh, as prominent names all spoke out in favor of the move.
Harbaugh to Michigan
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Harbaugh to Michigan
Harbaugh played from Michigan from 1983-86 under former head coach Bo Schembechler, setting the Division I-A career passing efficiency record and leading the Wolverines to a Fiesta Bowl victory and a Rose Bowl berth. After an NFL career that spanned more than a decade, Harbaugh spent time on his father Jack Harbaugh's staff at Western Kentucky University and was hired as the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders from 2002-03, including their run to Super Bowl XXVII.
Harbaugh earned his first head coaching opportunity at FCS San Diego in 2004, posting a 29-6 record in three seasons. He was hired as Stanford's head coach prior to 2007, building the much-aligned Cardinal program into a Pac-12 power in just four years. Stanford won eight games in 2009 and 12 in 2010, including an Orange Bowl victory, a new program standard of excellence since continued by current head coach David Shaw.
Harbaugh was hired by the 49ers prior to 2011, making the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons with a Super Bowl berth in 2012. San Francisco is 7-8 this year, already a tenure-high loss total for Harbaugh. His stock remains high, however, as multiple NFL teams were reportedly hoping to hire him after his anticipated Niners exit.