Being a University of Michigan football fan has really required some resolve in recent years. The once proud and storied school has really struggled on the field in recent years and perhaps hit rock bottom on Saturday after losing to the University of Minnesota for just the third time since 1967. Michigan lost five of their last six games in 2013 and now has posted a 2-3 overall record after falling 30-14 to Minnesota, at home, in front of 102,000 fans. Let that one soak in, 30-14 to Minnesota.
Head coach Brady Hoke was on the hot seat last week after dropping a game to Utah, but the flames are going to get even hotter this week after fans, alumni and boosters watched an anemic offense put up just 171 yards against the Gophers. Adding to Hoke’s woes are the reports that he allowed a clearly concussed player to re-enter the game against Minnesota.
Several names have been mentioned as coaching replacements in recent weeks as the Michigan program struggles. One name in particular, former Michigan quarterback and San Francisco 49ers head coach, Jim Harbaugh. You can wipe that name right off the list for consideration after Hoke is fired this season. Many U of M fans would love that, but in reality, it’s not going to happen.
Just as Jon Gruden was linked to every coaching job in recent years, Harbaugh is not going from the NFL to return to the college realm.
Yes, it’s well documented in the media that there is a rift between Niners general manager Trent Baalke and Harbaugh, but the head coach isn’t going anywhere, for now. If he leaves the Niners, he’ll be tossed offers from multiple NFL teams, likely starting with the team across the bay, the Oakland Raiders. Miami, Carolina and the New York Giants or Jets could come calling as well.
Despite the nostalgia, and Michigan fans feeling desperate, why would Harbaugh return to Ann Arbor? Harbaugh has college coaching bloodlines, but that was a stepping stone to get to the big stage of the NFL.
Coaching at the college level in high profile programs such as Michigan demand certain requirements and obligations Harbaugh doesn’t have to endure in the NFL. Recruiting. Boosters. Weather. Lifestyle. Seriously, if San Francisco releases Harbaugh after his contract is up and he can go to South Beach and coach the Dolphins? Ann Arbor or Miami? Miami or Ann Arbor? Yeah, it’s neck and neck. 20 inches of snow in a February blizzard or 80 degrees and lunch of stone crabs and a frozen drink?
Changes will be made in Ann Arbor after this year. Perhaps before the end of the season if this spiral continues. However Michigan fans, Jim Harbaugh isn’t going to be in the foreseeable future.