Five Teams Capable of Luring Away Stanford's Jim Harbaugh
With Tiger Woods' slippery five iron pulling in all of the recent headlines, otherwise controversial topics, like the firing of Charlie Weis or the “retirement” of Bobby Bowden, have quietly slip away from our attention deficit minds.
Questions regarding the future of certain coaches are already swirling around several college campuses and even if you think your school is safe from a raid, you might want to batten down the hatches just to be safe.
Stanford is one of the few schools that couldn’t be happier with their coach.
The unbelievably rapid progress seen within their program is definitely because of the hard work laid out by Jim Harbaugh. However, if history tells us anything about Jim, it is that he isn’t afraid to flirt back when the ideal coaching position shows up at his front door holding a cold six-pack.
Harbaugh’s upward coaching trends have recently piqued the interest of several teams.
In just three years, Harbaugh took a team that had hit the rockiest of rock bottoms and turned them into a nationally ranked program with a blindingly bright future.
Before coming to Stanford, Jim performed the same type of miracles with the dilapidated football team at University of San Diego. In his second season, his Toreros won the Pioneer Football League championship and they would repeat as champions the year after.
At Stanford he has consistently improved in the one stat that truly matters: wins.
His fiery nature allowed him to outspokenly stand his ground with the big boys of the Pac-10 and often times he pulled out an amazing upset victory.
His overt cockiness produced a unique buzz that was welcoming within an organization that reeked of stale memories from failed previous seasons.
This confident swagger wasn’t lost during his recruiting trips either, which is a huge bonus for any college football suitors. Hiring a successful coach who is a proven recruiter is equivalent to landing a quarterback that not only has an accurate arm, but also has a set of wheels.
The biggest testament to Harbaugh’s recruiting prowess could be that he convinced Andrew Luck, a five-star recruit from Texas, to come to a sub-.500 Stanford, in the under-appreciated Pac-10 instead of staying in the south, and playing for a conference where quarterbacks are idolized.
With his decades of decorated football experience and that youthful fire he brings to the sidelines, it would be hard for a struggling organization not to throw Jim’s name into a hat of possible contender.
But before I let this “bro-mance” with Jim Harbaugh go a little too far, let me tell you the teams that I could see experiencing similar feelings toward Harbaugh if a coaching vacancy happens to be presented.
It is hard to believe that Harbaugh’s end goal is anything short of being an NFL coach and it is about that time of year that these lowly professional teams start sniffing around the college ranks for replacements.
Harbaugh was an assistant coach with the Raiders from 2002-2003 and a recognizable face is always the bees-knees for the senile Davis.
If Harbaugh just wanted to get back to the NFL as soon as possible, the fact that Oakland is relatively close to his current job and that it would add invaluable NFL head coaching experience to his resume (even though it is with the Raiders), may actually sound enticing.
But for some reason I don’t see Harbaugh being that desperate. He would be much better off holding on to what he has right now and turning it into a better deal further down the road.
The Browns aren’t exactly the cream of the crop compared to Oakland, but if Cleveland acts harshly to Eric Mangini’s horrid first year, Harbaugh could shoot up to the top of list of whoever takes over as the General Manger.
The demanding coaching style that Harbaugh brings to the field could be exactly what Brady Quinn needs to permanently get on the right track. He has briefly shown with Andrew Luck that he is capable of turning the raw mold that is a potential-filled quarterback into a commanding and consistent on-field leader.
And who knows? If he is lucky, he may be able to convince the GM to draft his beloved Toby Gerhart.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Ryen Russillio, co-host of ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt show, jokingly threw out Jim Harbaugh’s name in a debate of who would take over Charlie Weis’ job.
But after a quick chuckle, the more I thought about it, the more I believed that Harbaugh was actually the perfect person to resurrect these browning shamrocks.
Harbaugh’s dynamic personality would illuminate brilliantly in front of that constantly-shining Notre Dame spotlight and more importantly, it would be a dramatic change from that “Biggest Loser contester” look that Weis was going for.
Plus, Jim’s presence as head coach breathes instant life into the Michigan and USC rivalry games, which have been rather listless for several years now.
While he is a long shot, I’ll assume the he is on Jack Swarbrick’s top-secret list until a coach is officially hired. The Irish have lured away a flourishing Stanford coach before, so it wouldn’t be completely surprising if they ever tried to do it again.
Big Blue is committed to Rich Rodriguez and they are sticking to that story. But what Big Blue really wants is for their team to return to the glory days created by Bo Schembechler and his well crafted X’s and O’s.
Fortunately for Michigan fans, Harbaugh practically lives off of the Schembechler Bible and who better to lead this beleaguered program back to glory then one of their own?
With these obvious ties, Michigan will always be a likely candidate for poaching Harbaugh, but with their current contract restrictions, it could take a year or two for anything to really happen.
OK. The odds of this one occurring are as likely as the odds for Easter Michigan winning the national championship, but please, briefly follow me further down this rabbit hole.
Let’s say for some odd reason Harbaugh doesn't get the job with Notre Dame and instead, they offer it to Urban Meyer who has “always wanted to coach there.” Meyer gives Gator Nation the double bird and high tales it to South Bend.
A scorned Florida will want to find someone who has the tenacity to publicly let out the built-up frustrations created by this discourteous abandonment and who better fits this "stir-the-pot" mentality than Harbaugh?
I can see it now: Harbaugh and Lane Kiffin taking underlying jabs at each before, after, and during every one of next decade's Florida-Tennessee game. The fiascoes will be hard to steer clear from and it will do wonders for the rivalry.
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