San Francisco 49ers HCCurrent Salary: $5 million
Harbaugh is 58-27 as a college coach with stops at both San Diego and Stanford. In his current gig, Harbaugh 43-17-1 in nearly four seasons in charge of the San Francisco 49ers and has been to three consecutive NFC Championship games to start his coaching career in the pros, including one trip to the Super Bowl. Mentoring the likes of Andrew Luck at Stanford and Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick in San Fran, Harbaugh is known to be a great quarterbacks coach. Of course playing for Bo Schembechler at Michigan from 1983-1986, Harbaugh has a deep love for the Wolverines and the Ann Arbor area, but will it be enough to pry him away from the fortunes and excitement of the powerful NFL?
Scout.com analysis: National recruiting analyst and college football expert Brandon Huffman said: "It’s one of those things where I think Harbaugh could really be good in the NFL, he’s showed it, he’s been to a Super Bowl, he’s been to three conference championship games. But he could be the absolute alpha dog in college football. With his competitiveness and you never know because his brother won a Super Bowl, Pete Carroll having won a Super Bowl, there’s probably that drive that he needs to win a Super Bowl, but I also think he thinks he could go win numerous national championships in college and that’s why I think, aside from the obvious, he’s a Michigan alum, it’s he was in the midst of building something really special at Stanford which David Shaw benefited from, before he left, and that was with tough academic standards to work with.”
Pros: Harbaugh has won everywhere he’s been in his coaching career, from San Diego to Stanford and now at the highest level with the 49ers in the NFL. A coach that played at Michigan under the legendary Bo Schembechler would surely unite the Wolverine faithful along with his impressive pedigree on the sidelines. Harbaugh would also walk through the door and be able to sell recruits and would appear capable of challenging Urban Meyer at Ohio State and Mark Dantonio of Michigan State for many years to come.
Cons: Harbaugh’s reputation in NFL circles has taken a beating this year with multiple reports suggesting he is widely disliked by players in his own locker room. His in-your-face style might actually play better in college.
Then there are those unflattering remarks Harbaugh made back in 2007 describin how Michigan inadequately educated its athletes. That spawned a war of words with Lloyd Carr and Mike Hart. Today that appears to be water under the bridge for the principle parties involved, as evidenced by Carr's public endorsement of Harbaugh taking over in Ann Arbor. Even so, some fans may have longer memories.
Although Harbaugh is only 51 and would appear to make Michigan his destination job if he so chose, the allure of the NFL could still linger inside of him and leave open the possibility of a return to the pros. From a recruiting standpoint, every off-season would bring rumors and opportunities for Harbaugh at the next level. If that itch to win a Super Bowl stays with Harbaugh, it might be too much to keep him in Ann Arbor for 10 years.
What We Know:Michigan is interested and by all accounts and from those with a direct line to Harbaugh, the interest appears to be mutual. The problem right now is Harbaugh is still a head coach and in contention for the playoffs with a regular season finale coming up on Dec. 28. Harbaugh has also chosen not to publically comment on any other job including Michigan and no one knows with any sort of certainty which way he may be leaning.
If Hired: The Michigan fan base would flat out rejoice. Not only would Harbaugh electrify the Wolverines who have been seemingly dormant for nearly a decade, he would also be someone that chose to turn down nearly every NFL job available in exchange for a return home. Not only that, Harbaugh would be a coach looking to win national championships, not just conference titles.
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more on Michigan’s coaching search in the hours and days to come. And be sure to check our Victors Club Forum -- "Members get up to the minute updates here".