U-M Coaching Search: Is Les Even a Candidate?

Is Michigan really out for Jim Harbaugh? Should Les Miles' public statement about his intent to remain at LSU a sign of disinterest in Michigan? And what coaches have seen their candidacies limited by reputation? We address those and other topics in today’s rumblings.

Don’t Believe the Hype

The reports that San Francisco 49ers headman Jim Harbaugh has decided not to return to college continue to flow through NFL channels, and our sources continue to tell us that he has not yet relayed such a message back to Ann Arbor.  One of the weekend reports suggested Harbaugh’s collegiate consideration was over because of his relationship with former Michigan headman Brady Hoke. (Hoke worked for Harbaugh’s father at Western Michigan in the mid-eighties).  The source that reported Harbaugh’s indecisiveness about his future this weekend, and did so again today, also indicated that the aforementioned relationship has never hindered his consideration of return to Ann Arbor.

That said, while the growing NFL sentiment that Harbaugh will remain in the professional ranks is an overstatement in our view, it does speak to the belief held by some that have talked to him in recent weeks that he will be tougher to lure away from the pros than previously thought. The source to which Harbaugh reported his ongoing uncertainty about the future to put the odds of his return to Ann Arbor at 50/50.

Radio Silence

The odds don’t appear nearly as great for Les Miles.  As a matter of fact, LSU’s headman doesn’t appear to even be on the board right now.  Almost a week has passed since Brady Hoke was removed from office and sources tell GoBlueWolverine that the Mad Hatter still hasn’t heard from his alma mater. He has publicly stated his intention to remain at LSU for the remainder of his career, but some that know him in the Great Lake State believe that stance would change if he ever received an offer.  Or even a call.

We may never know if they’re right.

Preceding Reputations

Greg Schiano’s name has come up in Ann Arbor. Some believe that’s a result of aggressive marketing by f his agent Jimmy Sexton.  Others believe it link is the search firm the Wolverine brass hired to help with the process.  Whatever the case, the manufactured buzz doesn’t appear sustainable.  There is a feeling among some in Ann Arbor that Schiano’s past abrasiveness makes him too much of a risk to take this time around (the Wolverines tried to hire him in 2007).  Some have voiced similar reluctance about Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.  He too apparently has a reputation in some circles for volatility, which appears to be a limiting factor for him as well.

Isn’t America Great?

One candidate can officially be taken completely off the board. As was anticipated in last weekend’s update, Butch Jones has signed an extension with Tennessee through 2020 for over $600,000 extra per year. Not bad after a 6-6 season.

Another NFL Assistant

We’ve heard the names Pep Hamilton (Indianapolis Colt offensive coordinator) and Darrell Bevell (Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator) as names of interest in Ann Arbor. Well add Teryl Austin’s name to the list as one we’re hearing the Wolverines are also looking into.  The former Michigan defensive backs coach is in his first year as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions.  He previously held that same role with Urban Meyer’s staff 2010.

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