Four years ago it would have been unfathomable to question Jim Harbaugh’s job security.
Even now, the prospect seems far-fetched, but after the Michigan football team’s loss to Notre Dame on Saturday, some Wolverines fans took to comment sections and social media to call for Harbaugh’s job.
It’s not like the entire fanbase has turned against the former Michigan quarterback. Even so, the contingent was at least large enough that University president Mark Schlissel was asked about it at the Detroit Economic Club forum at the Westin Book Cadillac on Wednesday.
Schlissel, for his part, scoffed at the notion.
"He is not on the hot seat," Schlissel said, according to the Detroit News. "He is under contract for four more years.”
Of course, that is easy to say early in the season. But even looking at Harbaugh’s time at Michigan as a whole, he still is the most successful coach the Wolverines have had in the last decade, even if it is by a small margin over Brady Hoke.
“… I joke with some of our coaches, who all expect to win a league every year and have a perfect record and the like,” Schlissel said. “It’s mathematically impossible for everyone to have a perfect record, after the first game anyway.”
All week, Michigan echoed Schlissel’s sentiment, downplaying the idea that there is any sense of urgency after Week 1. Each player, when asked, said they’re trying to block out the noise from the outside.
However, there is also an obvious feeling that the Wolverines must improve in short order. Harbaugh’s predecessor, Hoke, was fired after his fourth season, following a 5-7 campaign.
It would be a seismic shock if Michigan was that bad this season, and only a seemingly vocal minority is calling for Harbaugh’s job in the first place. Regardless, it is a good sign for the coach that Schlissel, the man who ultimately holds the power to fire him, has given a public endorsement.