Mid December Update: Latest Jim Harbaugh to Michigan Rumors

The news and rumors surrounding Jim Harbaugh\’s return to Michigan has been a roller coaster, to say the least.

December 14th

To wrap up the week, the news on Harbaugh has remained pretty quiet. The main thing talked about was whether a move would be made following San Francisco\’s elimination from the playoffs and whether or not super booster Stephen Ross is targeting Harbaugh to take over his Dolphins instead of his alma mater.

The news on Harbaugh\’s immediate future with the 49ers should be figured out tomorrow. If they decide to make a move, look for Jim Tomsula to take over as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. And if that happens, it helps Michigan\’s chances at landing him.

49ers & Harbaugh are officially eliminated from playoffs. Now #Michigan can get good feel for where it stands… if it doesn\’t know already

— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) December 15, 2014

Harbaugh himself chimed in on the topic in his post game presser: 

Jim Harbaugh: I expect to sit down with York and Baalke at some point.

— Dave Feldman (@FeldyCSN) December 15, 2014

If a meeting happens, a move very well could be made. However, it could be just letting him know that he will in fact be let go at the end of the season. Stay tuned on this one.

As for Ross\’ interest in bringing Jim to Miami, The Wolverine\’s Chris Balas touched on \”the unknown\” that surrounds Harbaugh and the Dolphins future ($):

\”If Miami opens, we believe the odds that he ends up at Michigan drop, for a few reasons. For one, the Dolphins have a pretty solid roster, and it\’s not a complete rebuild.\”

He also added:

\”And what of the talk that Ross wants him at Michigan first? We believe it. But we spoke with Ross during the last coaching search, and he said while he would love to see Harbaugh at U-M, \’it\’s my understanding Jim wants to be an NFL coach.\”

247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz also touched on the subject. He heard from a \”prominent former Michigan player\” about Ross\’ interest in Harbaugh at Michigan but said it\’s a possibility he pulls a 180 ($).

Go Blue Wolverine\’s Tom Beaver has heard that Jim is not the Harbaugh that Ross is hoping to bring to Miami. That would be his brother and current Baltimore Ravens head coach John ($). He also said that a 49ers loss would possibly mean Michigan would know where it stands officially with JH.

As for the weekly Vegas update, Sportsbook.ag has Michigan as the favorite to land Harbaugh at -120. 247Sports\’ put together a Bolt on the news.

One of the biggest \”hurdles\” that has been thrown out there to keep Harbaugh away from Ann Arbor is his wife wanting to stay out West. WDVE Pittsburgh\’s Gregg Henson\’s sources let him know that that is no longer an issue and she\’s on board with Jim heading home to Michigan:

\”I am told tonight that Harbaugh’s wife, after witnessing the outpouring of love from fans and former players, now understands what Jim’s return means to the Wolverines and to her husband and Michigan football.

Jim’s wife has apparently told her husband that his return to Michigan would be epic and is fully behind him should he choose to return to Ann Arbor to coach the Wolverines.\”

If this is true, I couldn\’t imagine Jim saying no to Hackett and the Wolverines. But like always, take every rumor with a tasty grain of salt.

December 13th

All is quiet on the Harbaugh trail which means things are going very well. It has been known that if Michigan doesn\’t make a move until after December 25th, they feel very good about their chances. But that date could be moved up.

Harbaugh has a huge game this weekend against the rivaled (and favorited) Seahawks, and with a loss and win from Detroit, the 49ers will be out of the playoffs. This could result in a move being made by the San Francisco brass.

Go Blue Wolverine\’s Tom Beaver reported today that a loss could \”trigger a speed-up\” in the process. He also talked about what a huge deal JH would be on the recruiting trail across the nation ($).

For those of you expecting San Fran to just go ahead and trade Harbaugh for some compensation, ProFootballTalk.com broke down why that won\’t be a simple process. They touched on how Harbaugh has the right to block any trade and the fact that whatever team trades for him will have to already interviewed a minority candidate to comply with the Rooney Rule.

From what I\’ve read, Harbaugh will probably block any trade for two reasons: 1. He won\’t want his future team to lose a top pick 2. He probably won\’t want to help San Fran after the debacle they\’re going through. There are also some people out there that have thrown out the idea of Michigan working out an agreement with the 49ers. That deal would include Michigan paying the buyout amount in Harbaugh\’s contract to have the 49ers let him go after being eliminated from playoff contention.

Now, that is just a rumor circulating on the message boards. But if it came true, the Wolverines would be able to announce their new coach much quicker than expected.

247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz touched on how, the rumored NFL favorite, Oakland is rumored to be heading to Los Angeles, which would move them out of the Bay area that most believe Mrs. Harbaugh wants to stay in. Lorenz also touched on how he continues to \”feel positive\” about Michigan\’s chances for Jim ($). He also agrees with Tom Beaver about Harbaugh\’s impact on the recruiting trail.

While most believe the Raiders are the team to watch out for the most, Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb is hearing that Michigan super booster Stephen Ross may go after Harbaugh for his Dolphins ($), if they make a move with current coach Joe Philbin. Hey, look who finally chimed in again on the 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

To kick things off, the University of Michigan let it be known that they have hired Korn Ferry (the world\’s largest executive search firm) to conduct the search for the next football head coach. While this was just released today, it is obvious that Korn Ferry has been on the job for awhile now, probably since Hoke was let go.

Update from the University of Michigan regarding their coaching search: pic.twitter.com/zQjbVpl2Gz — Mike Sullivan (@MikeSullivan) December 12, 2014

It\’s good news to see Michigan hiring a powerful firm like Korn Ferry, even though they were involved in the Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke hirings last time around. But the biggest news out of it is that Jed Hughes (head of Korn Ferry\’s sports practice) is a former Michigan assistant coach and just so happened to coach AD Jim Hackett, LSU head coach Les Miles and worked with Jack Harbaugh.

Having Hughes lead the way doesn\’t mean Harbaugh or Miles is a lock, but it does help. Especially with the rumors floating around that Jim\’s father, Jack, is hoping his son ends up in Ann Arbor.

In the last 2 weeks, several major college football programs have fired and hired new head coaches while Michigan remains coach-less. While some national media members think that means Hackett doesn\’t have a plan or the job is not wanted by anyone (which is dumb/a lie), ESPN\’s Mike Greenburg hit the nail on the head with how the fan base is thinking and what just may be in the works:

The longer the #Michigan job stays open the better. Makes me think they have something huge up their sleeve. — Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) December 12, 2014

Like Go Blue Wolverine\’s Tom Beaver mentioned early on, if a coach is not hired by Christmas, it means Michigan feels good about their chances with Harbaugh. \”Now, what if a move is made before December 25th?\” That doesn\’t exactly mean it won\’t be Jim Harbaugh.

As The Wolverine\’s Chris Balas mentioned, a bad loss this weekend to rival Seattle could result in a \”irrational move\” by 49ers owner Jed York. However, that is unlikely. Balas also went on to break down the rumor of Harbaugh texting a former teammate and NFL offensive line coach about \”getting the band back together\”, Harbaugh\’s interest in the Raiders and Michigan\’s chances ($).

Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb had some new news on the Michigan coaching search today, including his sources letting him know that Hackett is focusing on \”four candidates\” ($). And, like you probably guessed, JH is included. And then there\’s this quick bit. Another former All-American Wolverine\’s football player backing Harbaugh:

RT“@MGOBLUE07: @poisonpill76 Steve, you in favor of Harbaugh to Michigan?” Yup — Steve Hutchinson (@poisonpill76) December 11, 2014

December 11th

There wasn\’t much news today, which is good news. Remember, if things are quiet until December 25th that will say a lot about how Michigan feels about their chances with Harbaugh. As for the stories that came out today, the one that was generating a lot of buzz was Maize N Brew\’s interview with Bo Schembechler\’s son, Schemy. Joshua Henschke was able to speak to the legendary coaches son and asked him what his dad would say to Jim Harbaugh if he were still alive:

\”I think my dad would say \’Jim, it\’s time to come home,\’ \” Schembechler said. \”That\’s exactly what he would say.\”

While this doesn\’t mean too much in regards to if he\’ll take the job, I\’m sure JH will love to hear this since he and Coach Schembechler were very close.

Speaking of people who are close to the situation, Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb sat down with his coworker and former Michigan All-American safety Marcus Ray to discuss his involvement in the coaching search and what he knows on the situation, including rumors of Michigan offering Cutcliffe, the prestige of the job, the importance of system and who fans should be cheering for in the NFL this weekend ($).

WDVE Pittsburgh\’s Gregg Henson had some more insight from his sources on the patience needed while waiting for news on Harbaugh:

\”Everything I’ve been told is playing out perfectly in terms of Harbaugh, there simply isn’t anything anybody can do to move the process forward as Jim isn’t going to walk on the Niners and Michigan isn’t going to walk away from Jim Harbaugh.\”

So, if you\’re on the Harbaugh train, I\’d be cheering for Seattle and Detroit this weekend. That will knock the 49ers out of the playoffs and could speed up the process.

December 10th

Rivals\’ Chris Balas touched on the rumor of Harbaugh getting a Friday \”deadline\” to give Michigan an answer ($):

\”Talk of deadlines is patently false (there had been reports/rumors that he had until this Friday to decide). Money is not an issue, and Harbaugh is far and away U-M\’s first choice.\”

Go Blue Wolverine\’s Tom Beaver also said that this is not likely and that he\’s \”never seen a deadline yet in my 63 years that couldn\’t be extended.\” ($). As for the news that had the most people talking, Michigan alum Rich Eisen had his 2nd former Wolverine and Heisman trophy winner on his radio show for the 2nd day and asked him about about Jim Harbaugh. See what Desmond Howard had to say:

Howard made sure to let people know that he wasn\’t \”endorsing\” Harbaugh:

@Balas_Wolverine I was asked my opinion on \”Harbaugh to Michigan\” and 1) expressed what I would want to do if I was in his position AND … — Desmond Howard (@DesmondHoward) December 10, 2014

@Balas_Wolverine 2) He may have TOO many suitors. Sorry if you missed that point, but that was not an endorsement. Misleading headline. — Desmond Howard (@DesmondHoward) December 10, 2014

He may not have \”endorsed\” Harbaugh but Howard is the 3rd heavy hitting Michigan voice to give JH an approval.  Just about every day we have a Vegas update and this one comes from SportsBook via Steve Deace:

Sportsbook odds on Jim Harbaugh to Michigan have dropped from 6-1 to 7-5 in just three days. — Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) December 10, 2014

From Vegas odds in the past, when a lot of people are putting their hard earned money on something enough to drop the odds like it has, there normally is more to it than even we know. 247Sports\’ Steve Lorenz is also starting to really feel good about Harbaugh thanks to his sources gaining confidence ($):

\”For the first time over the course of this search, my strongest source last night said that he is starting to hear Harbaugh as a possibility to Michigan from legit sources.\”

Rivals\’ Chris Balas is only a \”couple hurdles\” away from being more than 50/50 on board with Harbaugh ($). He also said that \”all hands are on deck\” in terms of Michigan\’s people recruiting Harbaugh:

\”The entire MIchigan nation, including New England quarterback Tom Brady, is in for Harbaugh and hopeful Michigan makes him an offer he can\’t turn down.\”

Things are looking very good for Michigan right now, especially with the 49ers struggling. So, stay tuned for what comes out tomorrow.

December 9th

One of the most talked about stories that came out today came from one of the greatest Wolverines player speaking, Charles Woodson, with Michigan alum and NFL Network analyst Rich Eisen. This is where Woodson said he\’d rather have Harbaugh in Ann Arbor instead of Oakland but sees the chances as bleak, at best. Check out the video:

While Woodson may not be too optimistic about Harbaugh coming home, Fox Sports Detroit\’s Art Regner dropped a bomb of a tweet today:

Sources: Michigan\’s number one recruit is #JimHarbaugh,he wants to be here, #Michigan wants him here, roll out the Maize and Blue carpet. — Arthur J. Regner (@ArthurJRegner) December 9, 2014

Now, this is not a report from some unknown media member. Regner is a pretty trusted source in the state and happens to be the guy who first broke the Brady Hoke news back in 2011, so this could be pretty big. But like always, enjoy that grain of salt. The Wolverine\’s Chris Balas is another guy you can trust a bit more than some of the other people throwing out rumors and he is still \”50/50\” in terms of Harbaugh coming home to Michigan. In his latest update, his sources have let him know (3 different times) that JH would be \”the highest paid coach in college\” and that Hackett is doing everything right to land the #1 option ($):

\”But they are doing everything down to the intricate detail to ensure a transition would be as smooth as possible should Harbaugh and his family decide to come to Ann Arbor. It\’s impressive, to say the least.\”

More positive news on JH comes from DetroitSportsRag.com\’s Jeff Moss as he is reporting that the Harbaugh dream is more than just alive:

\”According to sources I have spoken to this afternoon, the folks in Ann Arbor do not believe they are out on Harbaugh and are not prepared to move on to any sort of Plan B. From what I have been told, U of M has lined up everything that Harbaugh’s people have requested to date including: 1) The money. 2) A say in the hiring of the permanent Athletic Director once Jim Hackett steps aside. 3) Administrative control. 4) Complete autonomy regarding disciplinary actions of players.\”

Rolling on with the guys who are firmly on the Harbaugh to Michigan train, WDVE Pittsburgh radio host Gregg Henson tweeted out what former Michigan QB Jack Wangler (best friend of Les Miles) had to say about JH:

Wangler on 105.1: \”I think Jim is really interested\” — Gregg Henson (@GreggHenson) December 9, 2014

One rumor that was going around was that Michigan was going to give Harbaugh a \”deadline\” to make his decision. However, The Wolverine\’s Chris Balas chimed in on that subject:

Talk that Michigan has given Jim Harbaugh a \”deadline\” to accept an offer is highly unlikely. They have gauged Miles\’ interest. #JimHarbaugh — Chris Balas (@Balas_Wolverine) December 10, 2014

While Balas is saying there is no deadline ($), Go Blue Wolverine\’s Sam Webb is hearing MUCH different ($).

December 8th

Following the 49ers loss to Oakland, everyone was waiting to hear what Jim Harbaugh was going to say at his presser, and he stayed  With the loss, rumors were running rampant about Harbaugh and whether or not he\’d be fired before the end of the season. However, that was (likely) squashed by the Mercury News\’ Tim Kawakami when he talked about why the 49ers wouldn\’t make a move for the rumored interim candidate, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula:

Just couldn\’t see York/Baalke throwing Jim Tomsula out there as the new coach to play the Seahawks in Seattle this Sunday. Maybe next week. — Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 8, 2014


But after that is a short week before the 49ers host San Diego (on Saturday Dec. 20), another tough time to make a coaching change. So… — Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 8, 2014


So maybe this thing limps along for a while longer. — Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 8, 2014

Another person saying Harbaugh will make it through the end of the year is WDVE Pittsburgh radio host Gregg Henson. He also went on to dispute the NFL insider stories about Harbaugh not being interested in the Michigan opening:

\”My sources in A2 stand by the Harbaugh “wants and will accept the Michigan job,” but NOTHING can or will happen until after the NFL season is over and Harbaugh’s club misses the playoffs.\”

Like Henson says in his article, rumors are going to get even crazier so make sure you take everything with a tasty grain of salt.

Early December Update: Latest Jim Harbaugh to Michigan Rumors 

Late November: Latest Jim Harbaugh to Michigan Rumors

Latest Non-Harbaugh Michigan Coaching Rumors

Garrett Fishaw