Harbaugh - potential Carolina Panthers coach? (this time ESPN rumor)

Submitted by myrtlebeachmai… on October 28th, 2010 at 10:05 AM

There's a lot of speculation down here about Fox not returning, and what it means.  Names tossed around change frequently, but the two that seem to recur are Cowher (widely dismissed), and Jim Harbaugh. 

ESPN Insider lists three potentials today, Harbaugh again is one of them.  Tough to see him leave Stanford, IMO, with his current success - but then again, the time to leave is while you're on top...




October 28th, 2010 at 10:21 AM ^

IMO every single potential head coaching opening in the NFL will have those two names at the top of their respective list.

Its fun to be flavour of the month. And lucrative!


October 28th, 2010 at 10:15 AM ^

I find it tough to believe that he'd leave if only for all the hullabloo he raised about michigan's academic practices with relation to student athletes and such...it should strike me as awfully hypocritical to be breaching about student athletes then bolt at the first sign of an NFL gig comes calling.


October 28th, 2010 at 10:50 AM ^

I don't doubt Harbaugh's accuracy of his statement. I still don't like it (because it was against M).

I just don't think you put up a huge stink about the student athlete if you're just going to bolt for the NFL ASAP. hypocritical wasn't the right word for this...i'm not sure what fits, though.  

he also strikes me as the dude who loves the college environment (which was stated below).


October 28th, 2010 at 12:13 PM ^

There is a big difference between the average tenure of an NFL coach and that of a college coach.  I suppose he could always go back to the college ranks a la spurrier, carroll, saban, etc. but it sometimes job security is more valuable than the prestige of the NFL.

st barth

October 28th, 2010 at 1:39 PM ^

I'm not sure that relatively short tenure of NFL coaching is necessarily a bad thing.  NFL coaches get paid very well, even if fired they often walk away with millions.  

An NFL stint can also be a nice break from the relentless pressure of recruiting kids.  

Personally, I think that, unless Harbaugh really wants to spend the rest of his career at Stanford, that he would jump at a good NFL opportunity.  Even if it only lasts a few years, then he can later come back to the college game with a Pete Carroll-like homecoming approach.  Of course, if the NFL works out for him then its a moot point.


October 28th, 2010 at 6:13 PM ^

I agree about the "so what?" response to NFL tenure being shorter.  Once you've been an NFL head coach, you can take your pick of open college football jobs.  Bobby Petrino was the HC of Louisville, then coached in the NFL for what, 10 games(?), and is now HC at Arkansas, major step up from Louisville.  And he got some sweet dollars in between.  When guys like Kiffin and Saban and Carroll (the first time), etc came back to college from the NFL, they got great jobs for great money, even though they all pretty much sucked at coaching in the pros.

If Harbaugh leaves Stanford for some NFL team, coaches for three years and sucks, he can come back to college and coach for whatever major school has an opening, almost certainly making more than he does now, and with about 12 million for his little NFL experiment.  That's about worse case scenario.  If he has success, he can keep the gravy train rolling.  Kind of a no brainer if you ask me.  


October 28th, 2010 at 5:16 PM ^

Not so much, anymore.  There's too much pressure to win in college football--the whole athletic department counts on football to fund the crew team, etc, for the football to team to struggle.

If, for whatever reason, the Big House doesn't fill whoever is coach is gone.

Young Pretty a…

October 28th, 2010 at 10:16 AM ^

I'm suprised how well he has recurited, with the NFL rumors and the OMG Michigan rumors.  But it's now to the point, that recruits are taking notice.

Evan Crower three start QB

on the rumors

"it's a pretty big concern of everyone, of all the recruits."

Wolverine In Exile

October 28th, 2010 at 10:16 AM ^

No gimmicky offense, based in traditional power running with play action which goes over well in the NFL. Preaches strong defense and special teams. Has pro experience as a player. I'm guessing he'd have a better than average chance making it as a pro head coach.


October 28th, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

He hasn't had a strong defense, but the strides he has been able to make have been impressive. Most people picked Stanford to be in the middle/lower part of the Pac10, based on a very poor secondary and defense overall.  The mediocrity of the defense has surprised people, given the expectation of Stanford having a poor defense.


October 28th, 2010 at 11:34 AM ^

I also believe he'd have a good chance to do well as an NFL coach.

- - -

At the risk of sounding snarky this morning, I've yet to encounter a football coach that doesn't value power running, a strong defense, and good special teams.  (Yes, words are one thing and action is another, but ...)  I don't see how that would make Harbaugh unique.

As for the "gimmicky" offense, why wouldn't a coach want to supplement SMASHMOUTH with a few interesting plays?  Even Sparty does that.

Bill in Birmingham

October 28th, 2010 at 12:29 PM ^

This is true.

I also seem to remember that Al Davis (while he is and has been batshit crazy for years, if not decades) really liked Harbaugh and wanted him to stay as an assistant and ultimately be the Raiders Head Coach. I think Harbaugh went to the U of San Diego feeling that he needed to learn to be a HC in order to fill out his resume. I would absolutely expect him to take an NFL job one day if the offer was there.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

Stanford runs a ton of unbalanced formations and weird jumbo/full-house packages to confuse college defenses (whereas I think NFL folks would have a much easier time adjusting).  They make a concentrated effort to overload one side so they can outnumber the defense or get them to over commit so they can run it the other way (i.e. they don't just line up and run the ball powered solely by Harbaugh's "grit").  Just because they end up running iso and power plays out of those formations doesn't mean Harbaugh isn't using every gimmick in the book to get an edge. 

I think he could be very successful as a figurehead/leader head coach in the NFL with the right staff around him, but from an X's and O's standpoint I don't think that Stanford offense is comparable to what you usually see in the NFL (though I admittedly don't follow the NFL all that closely).


October 28th, 2010 at 11:33 AM ^

I know Les has made some bad choices but damn running a coach out of town with one loss on the season and has only lost one bowl game at LSU.

 2005 11-2

2006 11-2

2007 12-2

2008 8-5

2009 9-4

2010 7-1 start

LSU beats Alabama at home they could go 11-1 the rest of the year plus a big bowl. Yeah, they should fire him I sure all the top coaching candidates will be beating down the door for that job.

Hoken's Heroes

October 28th, 2010 at 10:28 AM ^

From my far away vantage point, I see Harbaugh as a guy who likes to world of college football where he can control every aspect. I don't believe he'd fare well in the PROS where he has to deal with over compensated egos.


October 28th, 2010 at 10:44 AM ^

I think Harbaugh's style of coaching could go either way in the pros. On the one hand, maybe he wouldn't like dealing with the prima donnas. On the other, maybe a person like that is what they'd need to whip them into shape and play all out all the time.

I'd like to see him go to the pros and do well just so we can stop hearing his name come up in every conversation.


October 28th, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

Why wouldn't it be Bill Cowher? His wife has passed, his kids are in college and he has a place in N.C.


I don't think J.H. would go pro yet. IMHO he needs more time at the college game before moving up, plus Saban and Petrino have turned off the Pros for getting pure college guys (P. Carroll obviously already head coached in the NFL).


Also I agree with some of the other posters in that he likes the college game, or I think he would of stayed in the NFL coaching ranks and moved up that way.  


October 28th, 2010 at 11:43 AM ^

Rumors have swirled since he left Pittsburgh...  The hang-up mentioned was always waiting for the kids to leave home.  He loves the Carolinas, has a smashmouth, blue collar team mentality already in place.  The Panthers are not THAT far removed from success.  I think the swagger a guy like him would bring in would get them 2-3 wins a year more without any changes.

That said, he would need to do some building, which he's proved capable of getting the right pieces in place before.

Also, "The Chin" and his heated spittle may scare the daylights out of golden-boy Clausen, causing him to run and hide behind CW.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:18 PM ^

It's got to be the Panthers or nothing. No way he goes to Dallas (Please God no, it almost killed me when Parcells went there), and as you said He has a power run game already in place. IMHO it's already a done deal, Pat Kirwin on "Moving the Chains" (NFL Radio)has said that this is probably the year he comes back.


October 28th, 2010 at 4:34 PM ^

Harbaugh's decent career as an NFL QB puts him a step ahead of college coaches who didn't make it to "the show."  That being said, I don't think he would be interested in the NFL unless he got a Powerball-winner contract.  In that case, he would be a fool to say no.


October 28th, 2010 at 11:16 AM ^

If Harbaugh goes to the NFL (Panthers or another team) as a HC, how does this effect Michigan. It's likely that he would leave Stanford in January/ February and sign on with an NFL team.

Does this change Brandon's evaluation of RR, since a very solid coach (on paper) would go to the NFL?


October 28th, 2010 at 11:48 AM ^

I was really hoping there was some sort of sarcasm to be detected in blaze's comment. Unfortunately I was wrong. I just can't fathom anyone thinking RichRod would be judged not by his coaching decisions, but by the coaching decisions of another coach in a different conference with little to do with the program other than being a former player. Ugh.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:23 PM ^

that if RR performs poorly (based on Brandon's criteria), Harbaugh has to be considered a strong replacement candidate (there may be others, but Harbaugh for obvious reasons is high on the wish list).

It's even more related if you assume that Michigan wins 5 or 6 games total. If Harbaugh has or has a strong possibility of going to the NFL, then Brandon would at least feel pressure to speak to Harbaugh before he bolts for the NFL to replace RR.

If Harbaugh wasn't a serious NFL coaching candidate, then Brandon may decide that he can give RR another year and always have Harbaugh lined up if he wants a new HC.

Now, if Brandon ends the year fully satisfied with RR's performance (which is unlikely, but we all hope for this), then Harbaugh's decision is irrelevant.


October 28th, 2010 at 1:09 PM ^

Thanks for the clarification.

I agree that Harbaugh's CV is shiny at this point and that he'd be on the short list of possible RichRod replacements (if, goodness forbid, UMich gets to that point).

Really, though, is a seasoned exec like Brandon going to toss abstract thinking aside and go all "SEC" on this just because of Harbaugh?  Among other things, Harbaugh would have to be considered head 'n shoulders over *all* other possible candidates.

Sorry -- I don't see Brandon doing that.


October 28th, 2010 at 4:43 PM ^

only way this happens is if we lose out, at which point it won't really matter because everyone Michigan related will be too busy pitchforking eachother to notice.

I'm, gulp, fairly confident we will not lose out.



October 28th, 2010 at 12:09 PM ^

I don't see why Harbaugh would turn down any NFL HC job if offered.  He's not at USC or ND, his pay ceiling at Stanford isn't very high.  Plus, it will be very tough for his program to do much more than it's doing right now, especially with some of the big time recruits worried he'll bail and Stanford will go back to being Stanford.

His stock is as high now as it will be, he should jump.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:50 PM ^

Harbaugh has spent extensive time around both college ball and NFL.  If he's interested in coaching in the NFL, he knows what he is getting into.  From this fans point of view, the NFL and Harbaugh are a bad mix coaching wise.  Coaching twenty year olds is a lot different than coaching 30 year olds.  College kids love playing ball where it quickly becomes a very brutal "job" to most pros. (I've heard this quote from numerous pro players)  Harbaugh's rah-rah style could easily back-fire in the NFL, and I think he knows it.


October 28th, 2010 at 1:35 PM ^

and most importantly, leaving his $50,000 crapper they built for him, unless he goes to play for Crazy Al in Oakland, who's crazy enough to build him a $100K crapper.

The Punisher

October 28th, 2010 at 2:44 PM ^

....would like Harbaugh. They are fairly conservative (as evidenced by the John Fox hire) and like the old school upbringing (Bo) and coaching ways of Harbaugh. With a NFL resume and his brother in Baltimore, he knows the differences between motivating kids and motivating grown men.