While nothing is official yet, there were a few reports Sunday that Jim Harbaugh was set to leave the University of Michigan for the Miami Dolphins coaching job. The Fins are owned by Stephen Ross, a UM alum and one of the school's biggest boosters. After firing Brian Flores earlier this month, Ross said "I'm not going to be the person that takes Jim Harbaugh from the University of Michigan. I hope he stays there." Apparently, Ross changed his mind and didn't want to lose Harbaugh to the Minnesota Vikings, where he interviewed. SportsLine offers odds on the next Michigan coach if there will be one.
Michigan tends to hire "Michigan Men" and the easiest transition would be to promote offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. He won the Broyles Award this past season as the nation's top assistant and was a candidate for top jobs at Virginia and Duke. Gattis doesn't have any head coaching experience. Neither does UM running backs coach Mike Hart, but he's immensely popular within the program as a former star running back for the Wolverines and will be a head coach someday. Would the Wolverines jump Hart over Gattis? Seems a bit unlikely; perhaps Gattis would make Hart his offensive coordinator.
If Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel wants someone with head coaching experience (that may not matter to him as he hired Juwan Howard as the basketball coach), he may look to either Iowa State's Matt Campbell, who seemingly has been linked with every major job, or Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien – neither have ties to Michigan, however. O'Brien does have Big Ten experience from his days at Penn State.
ESPN's Adam Rittenberg wrote this earlier this month: "Would expect Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to generate some traction for the job. He would have been a serious candidate after the 2020 season if Michigan and Harbaugh parted ways." O'Brien also could take over as the new offensive coordinator in New England, one of his former stops, with Josh McDaniels taking the Raiders job.
Gattis also was an OC at Alabama so, again, it may make more sense to just promote him. Minnesota's PJ Fleck has ties to the state of Michigan as the former Western Michigan head coach.
Matt Rhule did a phenomenal job at Baylor, but his tenure with the Carolina Panthers hasn't gone as well. Some guys simply prefer coaching in college (Nick Saban).
Some have speculated Luke Fickell of Cincinnati, but I'm from Michigan and there's no freaking way the school would hire someone with Ohio State ties.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Favorites to be next Michigan football coach if Jim Harbaugh leaves
- Josh Gattis +300
- Bill O'Brien +400
- Matt Campbell +500
- Mike Hart +700
- PJ Fleck +1000
- Matt Rhule +1500
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