Michigan coaching candidates: If Jim Harbaugh leaves for the NFL, here’s who could take over the Wolverines

Whether Jim Harbaugh remains coach at Michigan will resolve itself soon enough. The ramifications of a potential departure, however, are already clear.

Harbaugh is indeed interested in returning to the NFL with one source telling CBS Sports that Harbaugh “definitely” wants back into the league. News broke over the weekend that the Michigan coach “conveyed legitimate interest” in the Minnesota Vikings job. The Miami Dolphins are also reportedly in the mix, though team owner and powerful Michigan donor Stephen Ross has previously said he’s “not going to be the person that takes Jim Harbaugh from the University of Michigan”.

If Coach Khaki leaves the maize and blue, he will be able to do so while holding his head high. Harbaugh fulfilled his destiny in 2021 by beating The Team Down South (Ohio State), winning the Big Ten championship in dominant fashion and earning a berth in the College Football Playoff. It took until Year 7, but at least it happened.

Now for the hard part. If Harbaugh stays, that head being held high would still be hitting a cement ceiling. Last season was arguably a unicorn for the Harbaugh-Michigan era in a league dominated by Ohio State and a sport dominated by the SEC. It also came as Harbaugh agreed to a reduction in his contract terms based on his performance through his first six seasons with the Wolverines.

Michigan did reach the big stage, but the question is whether it can stay there. If Harbaugh remains in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for Year 8 and beyond, he will be expected to wash, rinse and repeat the success he and his program enjoyed in 2021. That has to enter significantly into his decision.

And let’s face it … Georgia might have shown how far Michigan has to go to reach the pinnacle during the Bulldogs’…

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