After weeks of rumors and speculation, Jim Harbaugh will be named Michigan’s head football coach this week, according to multiple reports.
Harbaugh landed at Detroit Metro Airport just after 5 p.m. Monday evening. Shortly thereafter, he left the airport in a caravan of Michigan cars. When approached by the Daily for comment, he smiled and said, “I think we’ll have some comments tomorrow.”
Though no contract has been signed yet, separate reports from FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman and ESPN’s John Clayton say Harbaugh’s deal is done.
The move was first reported conclusively by University lecturer John Bacon, a bestselling author and Michigan historian, on Twitter on Saturday night. Harbaugh has been rumored as Michigan’s top choice for the position since Brady Hoke was fired Dec. 2.
Bleacher Report NFL analyst Jason Cole reported earlier Saturday that Harbaugh was expected to take the Michigan job, according to two members of the San Francisco 49ers’ staff and another source inside the NFL. Michigan has not commented on any reports.
The hire became official after Harbaugh coached the 49ers in their season finale on Sunday afternoon. Reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora on Sunday morning indicated that other teams such as the Oakland Raiders could still make a run for Harbaugh after his season concluded Sunday night.
Harbaugh has spent the last four years in the National Football League, but the final months of his tenure with San Francisco were reportedly fraught with conflict between the 51-year-old Michigan alumnus and 49ers’ management and ownership. Previously, Harbaugh worked in the college ranks as Stanford’s coach from 2007-10 and San Diego’s coach from 2004-06.
Harbaugh’s ties to Michigan are decades in the making. He played quarterback under legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler from 1982-86 and spent many of his formative years in Ann Arbor when his father, Jack, was the defensive backfield coach at Michigan from 1973-79.
After graduating from Michigan, Harbaugh spent 15 years playing quarterback in the NFL.
The Michigan job is a reclamation project for Harbaugh, something he’s no stranger to. Stanford was 1-11 the year before he arrived, but Harbaugh righted the ship, leading the Cardinal to a bowl game in his third year at the helm. Stanford defeated Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl in Harbaugh’s fourth and final season in Palo Alto, and appeared in BCS bowls in each of the three years following his departure.
Similarly, the 49ers were 6-10 the year before Harbaugh’s arrival, but went 13-3 and appeared in the Super Bowl in his second year with the team.
This is a developing story. Check back on www.michigandaily.com for updates.