Jim Harbaugh, Rich Rodriguez & Randy Edsall: Coaching Changes Affect Notre Dame
It remains to be seen how current Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh will manage to coach Stanford, Michigan, the 49ers, Raiders and Panthers all at once.
Suffice it to say, 2011 is off to a fast start for the former Wolverine and NFL signal caller, who is the crux of an ever-expanding list of college and NFL coaching searches.
And right on the periphery of the massive coaching carousel that includes such college football powerhouses as Florida, Miami and Michigan is a common thread: Notre Dame.
Where to start?
Miami was the first mover, canning Randy Shannon and hiring Al Golden. The Irish subsequently capitalized on the Hurricanes' interim regime in the Sun Bowl, and the next chapter of that story will be penned in the fall of 2012 at Soldier Field.
Then Urban Meyer stepped down at Florida, setting in motion a sequence of events that culminated in the hiring of Texas coach-impatiently-waiting Will Muschamp. Not only will Muschamp add recently-deposed Irish head coach Charlie Weis as his offensive coordinator, but Notre Dame is set to kick off a four-game series with the Longhorns that stretches from 2015 to 2020. That figured to be a very likely window for Muschamp to have taken over for Mack Brown in Austin.
Where should Irish fans be rooting for Harbaugh to land?
Pittsburgh pushed out Dave Wannedstet in favor of Mike Haywood—a former Irish player and assistant coach—who subsequently pushed around his child's mother, flinging that job wide open again. Notre Dame and Pittsburgh continue their series September 24.
Sunday, Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall shipped off to Maryland, where he'll contend with Brian Kelly and company at FedEx Field on November 12. Edsall, of course, became a hot commodity a year ago when his Huskies sparked a four-game winning streak at Notre Dame Stadium.
And then there's Michigan.
It would seem improbable—read: downright inexplicable—for Rich Rodriguez to hang onto the throne in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines suffered the worst bowl loss in their history over the weekend, Rodriguez fell to 15-22 in three seasons of work and his $4 million contract buyout just became a WikiLeaks book deal cheaper.
Harbaugh remains the most viable replacement candidate for Michigan if the Wolverines can coax him away from Palo Alto and keep him away from NFL suitors.
From Notre Dame's perspective, Stanford and Michigan remain staples on the annual slate, and the Irish would figure to benefit short-term from turmoil at both institutions.
Best-case scenario for the Irish: Harbaugh goes to the NFL while Dave Brandon and the Wolverines post frantic Craigslist ads, battling Stanford, Pitt and UConn for applicants along the way.
However, even if Harbaugh moves into the Big House, he'll have a major remodeling project ahead of him. Furthermore, his departure from Stanford virtually guarantees that Notre Dame won't have to worry about stopping Heisman finalist Andrew Luck in 2011, as he'll opt for the NFL draft.
There are, of course, recruiting implications that are too numerous for this conversation. Yet it remains fascinatingly unique that a program like Notre Dame will be directly impacted, on the field, by college football's hot stove league.
Since when did South Bend become a center of stability in the coaching world?
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