In the most unbreaking news ever, former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has agreed to become the next University of Michigan Head Coach for a contract rumored to be for 7 years and up to $35-40 million dollars. Prior reports put that figure closer to $48 million, but recent reports have downplayed that as Harbaugh wanted to be able to pay his assistants more money and to have more control over the program. Former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke was fired at the conclusion of the season after a disappointing 5-7 finish, never turning the highly ranked recruiting classes into success on the field.
What does this mean?
Well, first off, this is the best that Michigan could hope for. Harbaugh has a track record of success everywhere he has went, powering Stanford to Pac-12 titles with Andrew Luck before going to the NFL and taking the 49ers to 3 NFC Championship games and 1 Super Bowl. They also get their "Michigan Man", which is apparently a key criteria for whatever reason.
Anyways, the obvious benefit is a head coach with a great track record at both the college and pro level, which will be amazing for recruiting. I'm not sure that Michigan had even five recruits committed after the travesty of a season and firing of the head coach, so this will, hopefully for them, repair what would of been an absolutely terrible recruiting class. Already recruits have said that if Harbaugh goes to Michigan, they would immediately be on the official visit schedule, presumably due not only to their blue blood status but mainly because of Harbaugh's great history of success. Kids want to play for a coach who wins. Period. Harbaugh wins wherever he goes, so this will pull kids straight to him.
The secondary benefit here is a hire that almost immediately repairs the image of the program that to fans was in disrepair. Michigan may have kept their 100,000 streak alive due to ticket sales alone, but it was obvious to anyone watching the games that the attendance was not nearly that. This immediately changes as people will flock towards the program now to see how fast Harbaugh can turn things around. Attendance wasn't the only issue, but rather it was the end result of a few years of fans becoming not only restless with the on the field results but also angered at the actions of the athletic director. Those have been somewhat remedied, but that's a story for another day that is probably largely negated now by this hire.
How fast does he turn it around?
That's a great question, and one that is quite frankly hard to answer. If you go by recruiting rankings alone, Harbaugh should have the raw talent on the squad to contend immediately. The offensive line was in disarray this season, but it is puzzling why so. The 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes featured many highly ranked offensive linemen who would be coming off of their RS freshman and sophomore seasons, so they should be ready to contribute immediately. Harbaugh is known for his pro-style offense that emphasizes a power running game, so this should take advantage of this talent. The defense already has the talent in place to be very good, so the potential is there for a very quick righting of the ship in Ann Arbor. Is he able to with all of the pressure? I don't see why not. He's proven on the highest level that he can turn things around quickly and I see no reason why this would be any different.
What do you all think? Let us know in the comments.