Today was the day most, including myself, believed Brady Hoke would be fired. However, it looks like AD Jim Hackett may give Hoke his last meeting (Tuesday) with the team or even allow him to stay on until the 94th Annual Michigan Football Bust on December 8th. That is saying he will be fired. However, there are some people believing he may get another chance. That is a very doubtful outcome, IMO.
In terms of Harbaugh, Adam Schefter is back to put a damper on the fan base\’s parade:
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) December 1, 2014
Now, this is just a report. Most NFL guys have a hard time believing any successful coach would leave the NFL for college. However, Harbaugh is a different cat and would always have the chance to go back to the NFL while the chance to take over and save his alma mater may not come again.
The biggest proponent of Harbaugh wanting and willing to comeback to Michigan is Pittsburgh radio host Gregg Henson. He touched on the latest negative Harbaugh rumors in his latest blog post, which included Michigan buying time while Harbaugh finishes up his season:
\”What I am hearing is that Michigan has already been given assurances that Jim Harbaugh wants the job but they need to buy some time.\”
Also, he said that Michigan may be giving Hoke a comfortable exit to keep Jim and the Harbaugh family happy. Remember, they are very close with Brady:
\”There is also further evidence in the way Brady Hoke is being treated. From the very start the Harbaugh’s have wanted Brady treated well and that is exactly what is happening. He could have been fired quickly and violently like Bo Pelini, but he wasn’t, instead he gets to be at the banquet and bow out gracefully after a “thorough review” of the program.\”
Henson also broke down what his source told him about how Hoke\’s firing will go down:
\”Michigan’s Football banquet is Monday, Brady and Michigan AD Jim Hackett have a meeting later in the week. Brady is expected to be terminated as J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach following the Hackett meeting. Following Michigan’s termination of Hoke, Hackett will announce a search committee to buy two more week so Jim Harbaugh can finish his duties with the Niners. The only monkey wrench if if the Niners make the playoffs, it would still be him but it would delay the process.\”
Later in the afternoon, the most trustworthy Michigan football source, Sam Webb, had breaking news to report in regards to Brady Hoke\’s fate as head football coach:
Decision on Hoke\’s future as coach is expected to be delivered to him at that time
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) December 1, 2014
It looks like the end is in sight for Brady Hoke which means the Harbaugh watch will officially begin.
Brady Hoke has been fired as the head coach of Michigan.
Before this news came out, some possible bad news was released. FootballScoop.com\’s Scott Roussel\’s sources told him that Michigan is \”struggling\” to find their next head coach.
\”The feedback I heard isn’t going to excite many at Michigan; in fact, one source was very blunt, saying “Michigan is struggling to find their next head coach.”
Michigan athletic director Jim Hackett and senior assistant athletic director Mike DeBord have spoken with a number of potential candidates is the what I’m told; and the reception thus far hasn’t been positive. We are told that the Michigan administration was hoping to have largely have their man identified by now and that does not appear to be the case as calls were ongoing yesterday.
Multiple sources I spoke with told me Jim Harbaugh has already told Michigan that he is not a candidate.\”
Roussel also said Tennessee\’s Butch Jones also told Michigan \”no\” and that there is a \”significant disagreement\” on Les Miles from the people in the program. This all seems pretty strange since Hoke had yet to know of his fate and I don\’t believe Hackett would start his search behind Hoke\’s back like that.
Gregg Henson was also there to quickly shoot down this report:
\”The article also claims Jim Harbaugh has also told Michigan he isn’t a candidate and that simply isn’t true. Harbaugh is in the mix only he knows if he is taking the job.
I can tell you for fact that Jim is still considering Michigan, he talked to ex-players, including Anthony Carter and informed them that he would consider the job.\”
Henson also said Miles would take the job if he was offered it.
With Hoke\’s dismissal, every national media member seems to have chimed in about Harbaugh heading back home to Ann Arbor. Most believe he will not return to the college ranks but there is one well known \”source\” that believes it is very possible, and that would be Las Vegas:
— Joshua Henschke (@JoshuaHenschke) December 3, 2014
This 2/1 chance seems to fit Michigan History buff/professor/insider John Bacon said about Harbaugh and Mile\’s chances to land in Ann Arbor. Here are the percentages he told ESPN: Harbaugh – 51% Miles – 25% Everyone Else – 24% The other odds are on Les Miles (5/2), Butch Jones (7/2), Mike Gundy (7/2) and Greg Schiano (9/2).
As for the negative outlooks, one of the closest media members to Harbaugh is Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News doesn\’t see this working out for the Maize and Blue:
If Michigan was his dream job, would\’ve taken it in \’11. If national title was his goal, Harbaugh could\’ve gone to Texas or USC last year…
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 2, 2014
If he has no enticing NFL offers, sure, Michigan would certainly be an option for Harbaugh. But he\’ll have plenty of NFL opportunities.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 2, 2014
Also, Go Blue Wolverine\’s Tom Beaver had a couple \”tid bits\”, including the fact that the Harbaugh \”swim lane\” is headed in the right direction ($).
From the look of things, it looks like JH and the 49ers are definitely about to split up. In a new report from CSN Bay Area, they are saying it is \”unlikely\” Harbaugh stays in San Francisco after this season:
\”In speaking with numerous people close to both sides, the overwhelming sentiment is that Harbaugh will not be back with the 49ers next season.\”
The NFL has it\’s glitz and glam but the money it has will not/should not be a deciding factor. Multiple sources have said that Michigan is willing to pony up the dough for the former Michigan QB. According to Detroit Sports Rag\’s Jeff Moss, Michigan is willing to make JH the \”highest paid football coach in the world\”:
\”The DetroitSportsRag has learned that the University of Michigan has offered their former quarterback and current San Francisco 49ers head coach a financial package that would make him the highest-paid football coach in the world. Not the highest paid COLLEGE football coach — surpassing Nick Saban’s enormous deal at Alabama — but the highest paid at any level. Reports are that if Harbaugh says yes to Jim Hackett, he will make more than the Patriots’ Bill Belichick — who reportedly earns $7.5 million a year.\”
If his sources are right, that means Jim Harbaugh could land an $8+ millions per season while coaching his alma mater. That\’s crazy good money that I doubt an NFL team would be able to touch (unless he gets paid as both a coach and GM). To somewhat back up Moss, 247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz has been reporting for awhile now that money won\’t be an issue for Michigan. And today, he has even more information from his sources ($):
\”Around 9:30 this morning, I got a message from someone I consider a reputable source that echoed the 8 million/year number that has been bandied about. I want to stress that I have not been able to confirm this from a second source. It does, however, fit the quote that we\’ve repeated a few times revolving around this search: \”If Jim says no to Michigan, it will not be because of the money\”.\”
With Stephen Ross and the other regents/donors, Michigan won\’t be outdone in terms of money. That\’s good news, but maybe not the best news. That is coming from Go Blue Wolverine\’s Tom Beaver (who has become one of the most legit sources in this story), who had big time news (if true) for the fan base ($):
\”Hackett is in the midst of making a BIG play for Jim, thru the 49ers (I guess, if this is accurate). Bigger than we (I) would\’ve thought possible.\”
Beaver has been on top of this story from the start. You can check out more of his stuff here ($). If this story has legs, it could be huge.
To kick off the day, Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb\’ sources had some not-so-great news for the #JH2UM crowd:
\”The feeling of two sources that know and talk to Harbaugh (one of which has been actively selling the 49ers coach on the virtues of returning to Michigan) is that he isn’t likely to choose college over the pros.\”
Webb had much more to discuss, including positive notes for JH and other names that could be targeted ($). So, why the sudden change in storyline? One main (rumored) reason is former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr was getting involved in the hiring process. However, that story was quickly debunked by both GBW\’s Sam Webb and Free Press\’ Mark Snyder:
\”Lloyd Carr is not heavily involved in the search for Brady Hoke\’s replacement. But if he was… \”If it were my choice — which it is not — I like (Jim) Harbaugh,\” he said tonight. Carr\’s endorsement of the San Francisco 49ers coach is major support.\” – Freep.com
Detroit News\’ Michigan football beat writer Angelique Chenglis also backed up this story:
And no one should think Carr just suddenly decided Harbaugh\’s a great choice. He\’s been on that train for a while. — angelique (@chengelis) December 5, 2014
There is also a \”mystery candidate\” out there that ESPN\’s Colin Cowherd decided to throw out there to drive the fan base crazy. Here is what he had to say earlier today:
\”So I know three of the college football agents,\” he continued. \”There\’s about five guys, biggies, I call them occasionally to try to root some information out and I know enough reporters around the country. Here\’s the story. There\’s a very interesting — and this is not in a message board, you\’ll find it nowhere — there\’s a name right now being circulated in the agent world for Michigan\’s head coaching job. You will like it if you\’re at Michigan. You have no idea it\’s coming. I think it\’s a really good call, I can\’t believe I didn\’t think of it and it will make sense.\”
Does this person have ties to Michigan?
\”I\’m not going there,\” Cowherd said. \”I\’m not breaking a story, I\’m just telling you this is how I get information. If you\’re a Michigan fan, you\’ll be like, \’Ooh, I like this.\’ I like it. The person I got it from said, \’This is pretty good, right?\’ I was like yeah, I didn\’t think of that. But I cannot take you there now. . . . You think I\’m tantalizing the audience. What I\’m saying is that it will come out this weekend. You\’ll like it. I think it\’s a great fit.\” – Michigan.247Sports.com
Tons of names have been thrown out there, including Bob Stoops, Gary Patterson, Kevin Sumlin, Jim Mora Jr, and even Sean Peyton. However, 247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz had sources debunk one of the biggest names above ($).
If I had to bet on who will be Cowherd\’s mystery name revealed this weekend, I\’d say it was someone that GBM\’s Sam Webb mentioned earlier this week ($).
102.5 WDVE Pittsburgh radio host Gregg Henson was there to shoot down Cowherd\’s story by saying Harbaugh is the guy for the job and Michigan will wait for him:
\”I absolutely believe Colin Cowheard is wrong when he claims there is a guy in place and that Michigan will make an announcement this weekend, this is still Harbaugh’s job until he says otherwise. Hackett knows he must wait on Jim and is more than willing to wait out the NFL season, even if Jim makes the playoff.\”
Henson also said that Harbaugh wants Michigan as much as they want him:
\”Jim Harbaugh LOVES and is VERY emotional about what is happening in Ann Arbor, he wants to fix it and all the speculation in the world won’t change the fact that he is interested in the job. Think about it, if Jim didn’t want the job he would have shut all this speculation down by simply saying “I’m not a candidate for the Michigan job.” So, until I hear Harbaugh say that, I am staying with my sources in this one.\”
\”I don\’t pretend to know what (or who) is inside his head, but I\’m confident of this: Harbaugh to Michigan is not a pipe dream. And the overriding reason Michigan has a shot (I\’m sticking with a 40 percent shot) at luring Harbaugh from San Francisco is because the school actually will take a strong shot this time.\”
Some more (potential) good news on the Harbaugh front, former Wolverine QB and current ESPN college football analyst Brian Griese is involved in the Michigan coaching search and let it be known that this search will not be short like Florida and Nebraska\’s:
\”The decision at Michigan is going to be a little bit more deliberate,\” he said. \”Jim Hackett, the athletic director is going to go through a more funneled process and whittle the candidates down. Because of the fact that he doesn\’t have a whole lot of experience – or any experience – in intercollegiate athletics in conducting a search for a new coach, it\’s not going to be (Florida AD) Jeremy Foley hop on a plane and go find someone.\”
Griese was asked about the names being discussed but refused to give up any of the secrets:
\”I\’m a little bit close to this process so I\’m not going to just throw out names with respect to Jim Hackett and his process and trying to help in that endeavor,\” Griese said. \”But I know this, that the priorities and requirements for the position are going to be correct.\”
The former 1997 National Championship winning quarterback wasn\’t the only former player interested in being involved with the coaching search. Former All-American offensive guard Steve Hutchinson offered his opinion on Twitter:
— Steve Hutchinson (@poisonpill76) December 3, 2014
— Steve Hutchinson (@poisonpill76) December 3, 2014
According to plenty of sources, there are a lot of former players that are on Team Harbaugh. So stay tuned, we\’ll see if the previous generation\’s Wolverine stars can bring home the coach to lead the next generation into familiar success.
Today\’s rumors started off slow but ended up piling up by days end, and it started with GBM\’s Tom Beaver who had an update on what his sources have been telling him, which includes a meeting between the interim AD and top coaching candidate. He also mentioned how Hackett let the players know that they should expect a hire \”when they return from Christmas break\”. For more on his latest news, check out his post about how the meeting of the Jims went ($).
As for Beaver\’s PIC (partner in crime), Sam Webb mentioned on his radio show, The Michigan Insider on WTKA, this morning that if he had to guess, it\’s still Harbaugh. Michigan professor/football history buff/insider John Bacon also said that Harbaugh is the best guess at this moment.
Both Beaver and Gregg Henson said that the news on Harbaugh to Michigan will likely start to slow down while the 49ers play out the rest of the season. But, anything could happen.
And then there\’s NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt who has a different \”favorite\” for the Michigan job:
Remember, if you\’re going to trust someone in this roller coaster of a situation, stick with the local guys like Webb, Beaver and Lorenz.
Speaking of national media members who aren\’t the most trustworthy sources on this subject, ESPN\’s Colin Cowherd tweeted about his statement about Michigan announcing a \”mystery candidate\” this weekend. But he is clearly just trolling the fan base:
Michigan fans, the names I hear are encouraging. I am not teasing you. Although his names rhymes w Till Zellicheck.
— Colin Cowherd (@ESPN_Colin) December 5, 2014
I\’ll source myself on that one:
Bill Belicheck is as much of a Michigan coaching candidate as I am. — MGoFish (@MGoFish) December 5, 2014
And following the Harbaugh non-believer trend, Football Scoop\’s Scott Roussel was back with their latest update on the Michigan coaching search. If you remember, they previously were told by their sources that JH already told Michigan \”no\”. This time around their sources changed up their tune quite a bit:
\”On that end, we understand that Harbaugh’s most recent response to Michigan was along the lines of, “I’m currently under contract and can’t discuss anything until the season is over.”
Rousell also had some new candidates that Michigan has \”checked sources\” with, including:
\”Michigan has checked sources regarding Boston College head coach Steve Addazio and there are some we have spoken with who believe Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, who we understand has been approached by Michigan in the past, could become a target of this search.\”
Later in the day, some good news came out on Michigan\’s chances to get JH when NFL Hall of Famer and former Oakland Raider Tim Brown was on with 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland and had this to say:
“I think it\’s a big, big chance he may go to Michigan,” Brown said on the show. “I think Jim Harbaugh\’s coaching style really probably fits the college level better than the pro level. He\’s a rowdy, rowdy guy and he’s done a great job in the pros, obviously. But man, to be able to go back to an alma mater like that, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity
“With everything that\’s going on in San Francisco right now, it would not shock me at all if Jimmy is back there coaching.” – The DetNews
While Brown was giving more of an opinion than a \”sourced\” response, The Wolverine\’s Chris Balas was on The Huge Show with sources telling him similar information the other Michigan insiders have heard, including:
- Harbaugh loves Michigan and is \”extremely interested\”
- Hackett told the players a coach \”when you come back from break\”
- Everyone\’s on board with the JH hire
- Michigan won\’t settle
He had one story about speaking with Harbaugh four years ago for a story for their football preview, where JH said:
\”He told me he always had one eye on Ann Arbor\”
One thing that he said that we haven\’t heard much of is that he believes Les Miles will not be a candidate.That is pretty big news since most believe Miles is a lock if he was offered. He also went on to talk about other rumored candidates. Listen to it if you get the chance.
247Sports\’ Clint Brewster has some sources of his own and has heard that Michigan has indeed reached out to either \”Harbaugh or his agent\” and if the interest is reciprocated, Michigan is ready to pay top dollar. He also discussed Cowherd\’s \”mystery candidate\” and a very popular name that would be \”very interested\” if Hackett comes calling ($).
While the Harbaugh rumors are heading in the right direction, there have been a TON of difference coaches mentioned by someone\’s \”source\” today. One of the names that would be a shocker/home run hire came from Sports Illustrated\’s Ben Estes:
One bit of Michigan search info I can share–there’s one well-known current head coach who believes Michigan is going to hire Sean Payton.
— Ben Estes (@benestes91) December 5, 2014
Add in the fact that Payton and his son are known Wolverine fans and that Sean was a rumored candidate back in 2007, plenty of people are starting to talk about the Saints head coach to be that \”mystery\” candidate Cowherd was talking about. However, I highly doubt that to be true, but if it is, I\’m taking dibs for mentioning him as a candidate before anyone else did this year.
Another big name was thrown out there from \”sources\”, but this time it\’s a coach from the college ranks and is coming from ChatSports.com\’s Mack Ferguson. Here\’s what he\’s heard, and it\’s big news (if true):
\”Former Falcons and Seahawks coach, and current UCLA head football coach, Jim Mora Jr. has authorized his agent to contact Michigan’s Athletic Director Jim Hackett on his behalf and express that Mora would accept the Michigan job on the spot if offered.\”
That wasn\’t the only news Ferguson had. He also had some possible huge news from his source about a deadline that was given to Harbaugh:
\”Our source tells us that Michigan has given Jim Harbaugh a deadline of next Friday December 12th to give a 100% yes that he will accept the Michigan coaching job (privately) or they will move forward and hire Mora. Straight from our source: “This name will come out of nowhere but this is the guy that will likely be Michigan’s next football coach unless Jim verbally agrees behind the scenes in the next week. “Jim Mora Jr. – judging on his results at UCLA, home run in my book.”
This is definitely not the first time Mora\’s name has been mentioned. If we\’re keeping score, I\’ll give Sam Webb credit for throwing his name out there days ago. While I\’m not sure if every part of this is true, Mora is another option for Cowherd\’s \”mystery\” candidate.
The Harbaugh to Michigan momentum may be at an all time high. And it started off today from news out of Sin City:
Jim Harbaugh 2015 Coaching odds suspended after a stream of bets on Michigan moved them from 8-1 to 2-1 yesterday afternoon — Sportsbook.com ® (@Sportsbook_com) December 6, 2014
Sportsbook.ag afraid \”someone might know more about his coaching situation than us\” so Harbaugh as next Michigan coach betting was suspended
— RJ Bell (@RJinVegas) December 6, 2014
While Vegas is not the \”end all, be all\” of news, the flurry of bets coming in is a good sign that more than just Michigan fans are betting on the dream outcome.
To back up Vegas\’ decision, 247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz had @LanceGordon break down what exactly the suspending of the Michigan coaching bet really meant ($):
\”That\’s a monster jump,\” one source said. \”I can\’t exactly quantify it, but it means that tons of max bets were thrown towards Michigan. It\’s more than Michigan fans betting and hoping. It\’s max money coming in from professional gamblers.\”
If the professionals are that sold, it\’s a good thing. Those guys aren\’t throwing down \”max\” bets without some kind of information.
Looking for some more positive #JH2UM news? This may not be coming from trusted Michigan insiders like Webb or Beaver but there are a couple people out there with \”sources\” in the athletic department that are passing along some pretty huge news (if you choose to believe it), including @MichiganNation2\’s tweet:
— WeWantJimHarbaugh@AA (@MichiganNation2) December 6, 2014
And also the out of left field CFB Reddit post from ElDuderino01:
\”According to my source ( a fella who works in their Athletic Department and is a friend of my brother who is a faculty member there, and who correctly called the timelines for both the former AD and Head Coaches being fired earlier this season… ) Harbaugh to UM has been pretty much and agreement in principal for almost a month, and as of this past week the deal is done. harbaugh will be e next head football coach at UM… It also makes plenty of sense, certainly more sense than continuing to work for the Yorks or to start new with the Davis\’s…. Oh and for what its worth, it is the family that owns the Miami Dolphins who were so instrumental in getting this done. Apparently theyre also huge UM boosters and they are writing the blank check. As well Lloyd Carr and his backers on the Board of Regents have given their blessing as well. Harbaugh has been assured he will have carte blanch when it comes to football operations in A2\”
Once again, while this information is very positive, anything coming in from new \”sources\” needs to be taken with a big grain of salt. However, here\’s the good thing: most people, both professional and amateur reporters, have had very similar information relayed to them. So, I don\’t blame you if you\’re starting to drink the Harbaugh Kool Aid.
There have been plenty of rumors out there that were saying Les Miles was all of a sudden not an option for Michigan. One rumor was that Miles didn\’t want to leave the Bayou because of his families ties to the area. That would be a legit reason why he didn\’t want to make a major move. However, that may not be the truth. For one, in regards to his son Manny, he said he\’d \”love to see him at Michigan\” in an interview with DetNews.com. Another reason, Go Blue Wolverines\’s Sam Webb ($) reported that Miles was definitely interested:
Despite public proclamations of his lack of interest in Michigan, many that know him are adamant that he would reciprocate interest if alma mater showed him any. Friends of the “Mad Hatter” that still reside in the Great Lake State insist that still hasn’t happened yet.
So, if Harbaugh some how changes his mind, it looks like Miles is definitely still an option. It just matters where you want him to land on the list with the other rumored top candidates like Bob Stoops, Sean Payton and Jim Mora Jr. Stay tuned for more tomorrow.
To wake everyone up, Negative Town aka the NFL insiders are coming in hot with reports saying Michigan has reached out to Harbaugh and that they feel like he will stay in the NFL instead of returning to coach his alma mater. CBS Sports\’ Jason La Canfora is reporting that the Raiders and Dolphins (?), via trade, are likely landing spots:
\”While many are connecting Harbaugh to the opening at Michigan, where he was a star quarterback, sources close to the coach maintain he is not interested. Harbaugh\’s family has close ties to outgoing Michigan coach Brady Hoke and Harbaugh is much more interested in NFL possibilities.\”
La Canfora is a trusted source in the industry but this seems very strange since Miami Dolphins Owner and top Michigan football booster Stephen Ross has said he\’d rather have JH in Ann Arbor.
To keep things rolling this morning, another top NFL insider came out and backed up La Canfora\’s story with one of his own. This time, it was NFL Network\’s Ian Rapaport:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 7, 2014
While these two high powered NFL sources are saying Harbaugh is basically out, Michigan\’s most trusted insider Sam Webb reported yesterday that JH has not given Michigan an answer ($):
\”And one of the aforementioned sources said, \”by no means has he decided anything. He hasn\’t decided \’no\’ and he hasn\’t decided \’yes.\’ He is focused on his current job.\”
Webb came out today and backed up his report yesterday with more information about how a decision has not been made. He also gave Michigan a 60/40 shot at landing Harbaugh ($).
Like always, believe which ever side you want but this is turning into a pretty hilarious battle between the national media thinking a successful NFL coach would never return to college while the local media believe it is more than just possible. So, stay tuned, i\’m sure much more information refuting and supporting these reports will drop soon enough.
My suggestion: wait until Harbaugh says something. And even after that happens, take it with a BIG grain of salt. Remember, Nick Saban said \”I\’m not going to be the Alabama coach\” on December 21st, 2007, only to accept the job and leave the NFL on January 3rd, 2008.
The last Harbaugh news/rumor of the week comes from one of the Bay Area media members closest to Harbaugh, the Mercury News\’ Tim Kawakami. The title of his post says it all, \”The 49ers\’ Jim Harbaugh era is over\”:
\”But unofficially, the next thing for Harbaugh will be another team, maybe the Raiders, and the next thing for the 49ers will be figuring out what to do once they’ve finally gotten rid of Harbaugh.\”
Everyone knows Harbaugh is done in San Fransisco. The only thing that is a secret is whether he wants to deal with more owners and front office types or head back to his hometown and be in complete control of his favorite college football program. Stay tuned for more.