Harbaugh To Michigan? Get Your Man

Dec. 16 ”I got a job, and it wasn’t that bad.” … Jim Harbaugh shouldn’t go back to college. He should go back to Michigan, and there is a difference. 

Some guys are just better suited for the college coaching world, but Harbaugh – ego and all, personality and all, bristling attitude and all – can succeed on either side. You don’t come one play away from winning a Super Bowl without knowing what you’re doing in a league of men, but Michigan makes too much sense – if Harbaugh can get by the idea of not being an NFL head coach. 

The Chicago Bears make even more sense for Harbaugh in every way possible – right guy, right city, right timing as the anti-Marc Trestman – but that’s not an organization that handles dissent or bombast in any way, so that’s not happening. Jacksonville? Even with GM duties attached, that’s not Jim Harbaugh. Oakland is Jim Harbaugh to a point, but even in the post-Al-Davis world that just screams dysfunctional marriage from the world go. 

No, Michigan is right, and for Michigan, now that there’s smoke to the Harbaugh rumors – even if it might be Internet speculation run amok – you can’t go back. Sort of like Texas put its cheese out in the wind when the talk of names like a Harbaugh, any Harbaugh, Tomlin and Sumlin started to fire up, and the program had to go with a name head coach to satisfy all the different parts of the equation – the debate is still there as to whether or not Charlie Strong is that guy – Michigan can’t go Jim McElwain or Mike Riley. It has to go big at this point, and it has to go splashy if for no other reason than to show that it can. 

Look at the landscape of the Big Ten East coaching situations. Even on the low side, Kyle Flood is doing a strong job at Rutgers and Randy Edsall has a BCS game appearance on the resume. James Franklin is crushing and killing it on the recruiting trail, Mark Dantonio has built Michigan State into a superpower, and Urban Meyer is Urban Meyer. Michigan needs a guy who can go toe-to-toe with the coaching heavyweights, and the guy who never backed down from Pete Carroll in the Pac-10 days or in the NFC West is exactly what the program needs. And for the Big Ten, this would be a dream come true – Urban vs. Jim, arguably, would be better than Woody vs. Bo, at least in terms of high-end accomplishments. 

The other nice part about the fit? Michigan won’t have to compromise. For all of Harbaugh’s faults and issues, the academic integrity won’t be compromised and he’ll be able to recruit nationally. If you can succeed at Stanford, you can succeed at Michigan. 

But Michigan, as big and important as it is, isn’t the NFL. 

It’s not a time to come in with an ego as a program and lowball in terms of salary or assume that Harbaugh should feel honored to even be considered. Michigan needs Jim Harbaugh, Jim Harbaugh needs Michigan. 

Michigan, go get your man.