Latest Non-Harbaugh Michigan Coaching Rumors

Everyone and their mother knows that 49ers head coach and former Michigan star quarterback Jim Harbaugh is the #1 choice for the program and fan base. However, it\’s still a 50/50 shot for him to end up in Ann Arbor. So, you\’re probably looking for more rumors and news on the other choices. Well…..

December 14th

Outside of news about Harbaugh\’s 49ers being eliminated from the playoffs, there wasn\’t too much information surround the Michigan coaching search.

247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz hit on two pieces of news that came out from that FootballScoop report. That includes Hackett discussing potential coaching candidates with the Regents and Dan Mullen becoming a realistic choice. He debunked both of those ($).

On the Regents:

\”One excellent source of ours spoke directly to a member of the regents board, who explicitly said it would be \”egregiously inappropriate\” for the board to have any impact on who the next head coach is. That being said, the idea that Hackett is discussing potential candidates with the board is laughable at best.\”

On the possibility of Mullen, Lorenz let it be known that they believe Mullen \”is not a candidate for the Michigan job\” ($).

December 13th

If you\’re hoping for some very big/positive news on the Les Miles front, today is your day. While there are some small rumors about Miles being farther down the Plan B list ($), Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb\’s sources had potentially HUGE news about him \”guaranteed to say yes\” if Hackett offers him the position ($).

247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz is hearing similar things regarding Miles ($):

\”We still believe he\’s either the second or third guy that would formally be offered the job, with Harbaugh being number one. We also believe if Michigan pursues Miles strongly that he would end up taking the job.\”

Lorenz also went on to talk about the name that has Michigan fans both excited and skeptical as a Plan B option: Sean Payton.

From gathering and sorting through the information, (IMO) it looks like the final four candidates are 1. Jim Harbaugh 2. Les Miles 3. Bob Stoops 4. Jim Mora Jr (with Sean Payton running 5th as a \”call but doubt he\’s a legit choice\” option).

And then there\’s FootballScoop.com\’s Scott Roussel. They have become the leader in negative Michigan coaching news and rumors. Their \”sources\” have consistently gone against everything else that has been reported from the insiders. And they came out with another doozy of a story on how Hackett and the Wolverines have, once again, been told no by Harbaugh and are now moving on to a \”college coach\”.

\”Most of the senior leadership within Michigan athletics and on their board of regents now understand that Jim Harbaugh is unlikely to come to Michigan\”

Now, this is the same rumor we\’ve heard from other National media members. While you\’d think they were a legit source, every other insider has denied these rumors and that only makes sense since Michigan would likely already have their next head coach if Harbaugh told them no. He is the only reason they are waiting this long.

Roussel then went on to discuss two of the more prominent names on the coaching search radar:

\”Per sources, Hackett and his staff have discussed both Jim Mora and Dan Mullen with the Regents. Sources in Michigan that I have spoken with believe that if either Mora or Mullen were willing to come, then Hackett would support those hires.\”

On Jim Mora Jr, he talked about why he wouldn\’t take the job and why his \”sources\” think he just may:

\”Sources in Michigan told me, UM officials believe that Mora is frustrated with not being able to get UCLA to the top and think he might be willing to make a move to Michigan.\”

On Dan Mullen, he\’s hearing much different than what Sam Webb is hearing in terms of Mullen now becoming a legit option:

\”When I asked sources familiar with Michigan’s search if they would characterize Mullen as a lead candidate, the response was “I don’t know that Hackett felt that way last week; but it certainly seems like he considers him a very viable candidate now.”

Now, those rumors don\’t sound too far fetched. But then Roussel went out and dropped this tasty rumor to really question his credibility as a \”source\” in this coaching search:

\”One name that I truly haven’t heard from sources in Michigan; but I continue to hear from coaches is Joe Moglia at Coastal Carolina. A number of coaches I have spoken with feel Moglia might just be the perfect coach to invest in Michigan football.\”

The fact that anyone would think Michigan, who is desperately in need of a home run hire, would even consider a lower division college coach. While Joe Moglia is a very good coach, the Michigan fan base would go insane if he were named the next head coach.

While Moglia is a \”no way\” candidate, Mora Jr and Mullen are some of the best coaches in the country. However, from what I\’ve gathered from trusted insiders, the only person Roussel mentioned that is a real option is UCLA\’s Jim Mora Jr. And I still see him as the 3rd-4th best option.

Mora Jr may be wanted by Michigan but UCLA\’s defensive coordinator isn\’t too worried about his head coach leaving:

UCLA DC Jeff Ulbrich is confident Jim Mora won\’t leave UCLA, not concerned about Michigan opening: http://t.co/p7QBERocny

— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) December 12, 2014

Oh look! Colin Cowherd finally said something again about the Michigan coaching search:

Michigan has narrowed their choice for football coach to four candidates. Jim Harbaugh and three guys they hope drop out.

— Colin Cowherd (@ESPN_Colin) December 13, 2014

December 12th

One of the rumors from yesterday was the candidacy of Utah\’s Kyle Wittingham. The Wolverine\’s Chris Balas hit on the legitimacy of the rumor of him meeting with the Michigan brass in Ann Arbor recently ($):

\”we have not confirmed that, but we do know he is one of several (and we mean several) on this list.\”

Balas also talked about how a Wittingham hire wouldn\’t \”move the needle\” for the fan base, which is one of the main reasons I doubt he\’s going to be a finalist.

Speaking of finalists, Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb\’s sources have let him know that the players were told Michigan is down to four candidates ($). Those four candidates happen to be very popular, heavy hitters.

Scout\’s Josh Newkirk has broken down one of the fan favorite candidates, Les Miles, which includes pros and cons of him taking over as the next Michigan head coach ($).

December 11th

The hottest name on the Plan B list just so happens to be the guy fans have been hoping for since 2007, LSU\’s Les Miles. Since Michigan reached out to Miles, the rumors have been building that he is both the top candidate after Harbaugh and lower down the Plan B list. On the positive side, Fox Sports columnist Art Regner\’s sources let him know who they heard Michigan\’s top two options just so happen to be:

Sources: Les Miles a backup plan to Harbaugh. Captain Comeback, Michigan\’s top choice. #Michigan #Wolverines #B1G #AllInForJim #Harbaugh — Arthur J. Regner (@ArthurJRegner) December 11, 2014

Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb sat down with former All-American safety for the Wolverines, Marcus Ray, and he let him know that the rumors on Miles being \”too old\” is far from the truth ($):   

\”The word out of Ann Arbor this week is that is not true. Contact with Miles agent as the search narrows suggests the former Wolverine assistant is actually very high on the list.\”

Miles isn\’t the only Plan B option that is starting to gain a little steam on the rumor trail. The other guy sharing the spotlight just so happens to be another football coach in the state of Louisiana, the New Orleans Saints\’ Sean Payton

Sam Webb mentioned the Payton\’s name has \”began making the rounds\”. He went into more detail on the recent news and targets, including another veteran NFL head coach ($)

While everyone knows Payton is a big fan of the Wolverines and the insiders are starting to hear his name more and more, there are obvious a ton of skeptics out there. One big reason people don\’t see him leaving New Orleans is the fact that Michigan will likely never offer more than his current deal with the Saints ($8 million/per). There is also the fact that Payton shot down any rumors of him leaving today: 

Sean Payton said \”no way\” in regards to him stepping away after this season. — Larry Holder (@LarryHolder) December 11, 2014

While you can\’t even believe the coaches themselves, I would guess Payton isn\’t going to end up a legit option. However, if he happened to become one, I would be very happy. There was another possible Plan B option name floating around today, and it was a name most don\’t want to believe may be a legit option: Utah\’s Kyle Wittingham.

Hearing that Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has been in Ann Arbor and has been meeting with Michigan this week about the head coaching job. — Jeff Riger (@riger1984) December 11, 2014

While 97.1 The Ticket\’s Jeff Riger was told Wittingham has been to AA to meet with the Michigan brass, Pittsburgh radio host Gregg Henson refuted that he was on campus today:   

I\’m told Utah HC Kyle Whittingham is not in A2 today.

— Gregg Henson (@GreggHenson) December 11, 2014

I don\’t believe Riger meant that Willingham visited today but either way, I believe the Utes head coach is a legit 2nd tier option. I also believe the fan base may lose their minds if he\’s hired. 

As for a late night rumor, Sam Webb\’s sources heard the name of a now former B1G coach wanting the Michigan job ($). 

Tomorrow is the rumored \”deadline\” that has been floated around out there for Harbaugh. While I don\’t believe it\’s a real \”deadline\”, the rumors will likely pick up about other coaching candidates. So, stay tuned. 

December 10th

Today was one of the slower days in terms of rumors. One big one was the clearing up of Gil Bradnt\’s big mistake of a rumor he dropped on Tuesday night. Quick reminder: he tweeted out that Duke\’s David Cutcliffe was offered the Michigan job and turned it down. Oh, how wrong he was. Just about every local insider and even some of the big time national media members chimed in on this one:

I can\’t imagine Michigan actually offering Cutcliffe the job. Asked a college coach about it last night. He said, \”That\’s silly. No way!\” — Clint Brewster (@clintbrew247) December 10, 2014

Michigan did not offer its head coaching job to Duke\’s David Cutcliffe. More to come on http://t.co/LEaMRreBZv. — Chris Balas (@Balas_Wolverine) December 10, 2014

Spoke to Duke’s David Cutcliffe. He hasn’t talked to Michigan nor has Duke AD Kevin White. No job offered to turn down. Content at Duke. — Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 10, 2014

To be clear, there has been zero contact between Michigan and Duke’s David Cutcliffe. No third party contact, even through search firm — Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 10, 2014

Duke spokesman Art Chase: there\’s been no contact between Michigan and David Cutcliffe or AD Kevin White. That includes third parties, etc. — Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) December 10, 2014

Does @Gil_Brandt have an agenda? His Cutcliffe-rejects-Michigan story was 100% wrong. Days ago: \”Schiano the leader.\” http://t.co/klf1I0R9UQ — Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) December 10, 2014

So, for anyone that was hoping for Cutcliffe, sorry to burst you bubble. There was also some news going around about Les Miles\’ legitimacy as a Michigan candidate. Rivals\’ Chris Balas\’s sources close to Miles told him \”it will be either Harbaugh or Miles in the end\” ($). He also had some possible big news on what Miles could bring with him:

\”If it\’s Miles, expect some big names to come with him – guys who might be in line to be a successor. He isn\’t going to coach forever, and U-M doesn\’t want to go through something similar in another five years\”

This is big news since the head coaching hire is huge but so is their assistant coaches. Whoever is hired, expect Michigan to give them a big salary to spend on their staff.  As for the non-positive Miles news, we turn to (whataya know) the national media:

Most people I’ve spoken w believe the Les Miles-Michigan window has simply passed. — Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 10, 2014

From the rumors, it looks like Miles is a legit #2 option but a definite 2nd tier candidate. As for a couple last minute (possible) big time rumors, Scout\’s Kyle Bogenschutz\’s sources let him know about which Alabama assistant coach Michigan may be interested in and the legitimacy of Sean Payton ($). Rivals\’ Chris Balas also had some big news on Michigan\’s interest in Miles and Stoops\’ interest in Michigan ($).

December 9th

And the roller coaster of coaching candidate rumors continue! Lets start with the heavy hitter candidates, and there may not be a guy that fans want to take the job more than former o-lineman and GA/current LSU head coach Les Miles. Until today, all I\’ve read is that Miles had yet to be contacted by Hackett or any Michigan people. That seemed very strange since it\’s known how much he loves the Wolverines and that he would have a hard time turning down the job, if offered.

Well, according to Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb, Michigan reached out to Miles\’ agent today ($).

The other top insider to break the news on the Miles contact was The Wolverine\’s Chris Balas ($):

\”Finally, LSU\’s Les Miles has expressed interest in the job (again), and could be a candidate should Michigan whiff on other big names. Sources say the search firm did approach him to gauge his interest, but keep in mind they are doing that for dozens of candidates.\”

As for the other top names that have been thrown out there, Balas had some big news on Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops ($):

\”Stoops would leave the Sooners if Michigan were willing to pay (and again, money should not be an object this time around). We\’ve heard from more than a few about friction in the athletic department, and this was before the Sooners\’ loss to Oklahoma State.\”

To back up Balas\’ sources, 247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz is also saying that Stoops is a realistic option ($):

\”We are not going to budge on moving Bob Stoops down our board; we truly believe he is the second candidate at this point and will be the guy that will get the call if Harbaugh turns them down.\”

While these two trusted insiders are hearing Stoops is a legit option, Scout\’s Jamie Newberg\’s sources ($) have let him know that Stoops, along with UCLA\’s Jim Mora Jr, Mississippi State\’s Dan Mullen and Tennessee\’s Butch Jones have \”politely told Michigan officials that they are not interested in the job.\”

The news on Mora Jr is a bit of a shock since there have been rumors of him accepting the Michigan job \”if offered\”. However, it looks to be the case with Balas\’ sources telling him that Mora Jr is likely staying on the West Coast ($). As for a new name on the trial, Steve Lorenz was the first to throw in Duke\’s David Cutcliffe ($):

\”Wolverine247 spoke with a source close to the Duke situation today who said Michigan has gauged the early interest of their head coach David Cutcliffe in regards to the opening in Ann Arbor.\”

After Lorenz\’s report, the Cutcliffe rumor started to be chimed in on from several different sources, including writer Dick Weiss:

michigan gaging interest from david cutcliffe of duke — Dick Weiss (@HoopsWeiss) December 9, 2014

If you\’re hoping the Cutcliffe rumors aren\’t anything more than that, FootballScoop.com\’s sources were on your side:

Re: Report that Michigan has reached out to Cut. I spoke w source who knows Cut well. He didn’t feel there was any way Cut would go to UM — FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) December 9, 2014

Cutcliffe has done a fantastic job turning a once dead program into a legit contender in the ACC, however, he\’s older and really wouldn\’t be the \”home run hire\” that everyone wants.  As for another name that wouldn\’t have the fan base too ecstatic, 247Sports\’ Clint Brewster touched on the rumors behind Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell:

Spoke with a direct source who says that #Michigan has not reached out to Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell. No interest there. — Clint Brewster (@clintbrew247) December 9, 2014

The other 247Sports reporter, Lorenz\’s latest coaching search update ($) included things not looking very good for some of the lowest names on the fan base \”wish list\”, including Dan Mullen, Steve Addazio, Greg Schiano, Jay Gruden, as well as Darrell Bevell.  As for Mullen, GBW\’s Sam Webb has heard some very big news that explains why Hackett likely won\’t be considering him ($).  And to wrap up the night, NFL.com senior analyst had a pretty ridiculous rumor to add to the David Cutcliffe rumors:

Was told tonight #Michigan officials offered David Cutcliffe their job but the #Duke coach turned it down. Times sure have changed. — Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) December 10, 2014

Thank you, Mr Brandt, for that fun little rumor to drive the fan base crazy.

December 8th

If you\’re looking for a deadline for the Michigan coaching hire, Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb is saying that day will be Christmas. But December 25th is not exactly when a coach will be hired. Webb is saying that if a coach isn\’t hired by then, then \”it means they\’re confident in getting Harbaugh.\”

The name that every fan was waiting for this past weekend was that \”mystery\” candidate that ESPN\’s Colin Cowherd teased the fan base with last week.

While Cowherd never officially said who the name was, DetroitSportsRag.com\’s Jeff Ross is reporting that New Orleans head coach, and known Michigan fan, Sean Payton is the mystery guy:

\”Sources are telling the DSR that the Super Bowl winning coach is “really interested” in the vacancy in Ann Arbor and that Athletic Director Jim Hackett has had several conversations with Payton over recent days. We are being told that this isn’t just smoke and that Hackett and Payton have had “extensive contact.”

Moss isn\’t the only to report Payton\’s name as a candidate. The first person to drop his name was SI contributor 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

247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz\’s sources also backed up the Payton rumors:

\”Do not be one bit surprised if Sean Payton is the second phone call made by Bates if he\’s brought in for Brandon. The two know each other, and Payton has expressed private interest in the Michigan job in the past.\”

If Harbaugh says no, it looks like Hackett may take a run at another top NFL coach. And I\’m sure the fan base would love that. As for another guy some people are looking at as \”plan B\”, UCLA\’s Jim Moya Jr\’s name has gained a ton of steam. Sam Webb was the first insider to mention his name while ChatSports.com\’s Mack Ferguson took it a step further:

\”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.\”

However, there are also rumors that his agent may be trying to get his client a big contract extension, just like Tennessee did with Butch Jones.

One person backing up that possibility is 100 National Talk Show Host and Go Blue Wolverine poster Steve Deace. On top of not trusting Mora Jr\’s agent , Deace spoke with some of his sources and touched on most of the rumored coaching candidates out there ($), including Harbaugh being a possibility, Gary Patterson staying at TCU and the bad idea that is Steve Addazio.

As for the fan favorite Plan B choices, Deace also heard about Bob Stoop\’s interest, the questions on Greg Schiano, chances at Sean Payton, why Les Miles isn\’t being contacted and the idea of David Shaw. One name that Deace didn\’t touch on in that post but Tweeted about today that is starting to really gain steam is the Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

I\’m told @ESPN_Colin mystery candidate for #Michigan job could be Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. — Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) December 8, 2014

This isn\’t the first name we\’ve heard Bevell\’s name as Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb mentioned his name last week and again today ($). He wouldn\’t be a sexy hire but Bevell\’s name has been brought up with a lot of NFL head coaching jobs the last two years which means he has to be a solid choice.

While I doubt he\’ll end up being named the head coach at Michigan, he\’s clearly a name that is being/could be considered. Speaking of candidates that the fan base would likely freak out about, if hired, there have been several reports of former Rutgers and Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano being very interested in the job.

Some of the people who have reported includes GBW\’s Sam Webb ($), Scout\’s Brian Dohn ($) and NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt:

My wildcard for #Michigan is Greg Schiano, might even be front-runner. Will get excellent recommendations from high-powered #NFL coaches — Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) December 5, 2014

While Schiano is obviously very interested in the job (he is unemployed at the moment), I doubt he is a realistic option for the Wolverines. If Hackett was scared that the season tickets were going to drop under Hoke, it would likely be even worse under Schiano. Another \”no thanks\” candidate for the fan base is Washington\’s first year head coach Jay Gruden. His name just popped up in a rumor today from RealGM.com:

\”This source, who is intimately familiar with the Wolverines’ rapidly emerging coaching search, informed me on Thursday that initial contact has been made between the parties and that Gruden’s representation was enthusiastically open to the potential.\”

The lead NFL/Draft writer for RealGM, Jeff Risdon, tweeted a little more information on Gruden:

On Gruden and UM: I can\’t tell you if it\’s going to happen, I can only verify the two sides have talked. UM has talked to others too. — Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) December 8, 2014

Speaking of those \”other\” names, GBW\’s Sam Webb reported that the players were told last week that Hackett and company are \”looking into\” 14 candidates($). If I had to make a quick guess (based off of rumors) at the 14 candidates Hackett and his people have \”looked into\”, i\’d guess:

  1. Jim Harbaugh
  2. John Harbaugh
  3. Butch Jones
  4. Jim Mora Jr
  5. Bob Stoops
  6. Sean Payton
  7. David Shaw
  8. Dan Mullen
  9. Mike Gundy
  10. Jay Gruden
  11. Steve Addazio
  12. Greg Schiano
  13. Darrell Bevell
  14. Tom Herman/Pat Narduzzi

\”But where is Les Miles?\”

The former Michigan offensive lineman/GA and current LSU head coach was seen as the sure-fire hire, if offered the job. However, there are several reports out there saying Miles and his people have yet to hear a thing from Michigan. Sam Webb was on it again with the report ($):

\”Almost a week has passed since Brady Hoke was removed from office and sources tell GoBlueWolverine that the Mad Hatter still hasn’t heard from his alma mater.\”

That is very strange to hear since Miles is one of the best coaches in college football, a fantastic recruiter, a former player and GA, and wears his love for the Wolverines on his sleeve. However, the big problem may still be the rumored problems and factions that stand between him and the people at Michigan.

Let\’s say Miles finally gets some attention and takes the job. 247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz reported that, according to his sources, the players would be \”ecstatic\” if Hackett hired Miles. That only makes sense since Miles has put a ton of players in the league and is a very energetic guy.

A name actually on that list that is gaining a little steam is Boston College head coach Steve Addazio.

Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb is reporting that Addazio is a \”on the radar\” ($) and is a more likely candidate than Greg Schiano. Neither would be sexy hires and would likely cause some huge issues with season ticket holders. So, if either land the job, it means they were turned down by a lot of other guys.

Some other not-so-sexy names have popped up as candidates recently. According the Sam Webb ($), one is the defensive coordinator of the #1 defense in the NFL, Detroit Lions\’ Teryl Austin:

\”Well add Teryl Austin’s name to the list as one we’re hearing the Wolverines are also looking into.  The former Michigan defensive backs coach is in his first year as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions.\”

With ties to the program and state, Austin may be the only assistant I wouldn\’t mind to see hired. The Lions defense has taken an huge leap in his first year as the defensive coordinator.

The other not-so-sexy name is a familiar one to a Michigan coaching search, and, according to FootballScoop.com, that is Utah\’s Kyle Wittingham:

\”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.\”

Whittingham would be an interesting hire. He has turned a not-so-easy to win at Utah into a legit contender in the Pac 12. I wonder what he\’d do with a heavy weight program.