University of Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett, according to sources, is set to meet with Michigan head coach Brady Hoke on Tuesday before a team meeting at 3 p.m. In all likelihood, it will be Hoke’s final meeting with Hackett, and that 3 p.m. team meeting will turn into an announcement of sorts from the team’s former head coach.
If that is how the events do in fact unfold, Michigan will then be dipping its hand into the coaching pool, most likely pursuing San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh, who played at Michigan under Bo Schembechler. He is clearly the fan favorite and is very well qualified for the job. However, with so much uncertainty on his part—specifically concerning what the 49ers are wanting to do after this season—it may be healthy to prepare for other options.
It is not Jim Harbaugh or bust this offseason. Quite frankly, it doesn’t seem like the healthiest practice to head into a coaching search with a single candidate on your list, and I assure you that is not what Hackett will be doing.
Michigan is in need of a man who can step in and begin the process of turning things around. Given how much young talent is currently on the roster, that task may not be as daunting as it seems.
Two guys I think deserve a few heavy looks are Les Miles (LSU) and Dan Mullen (Mississippi State). Of course, you can always count on Miles’ name popping up during a football coaching search at Michigan, but after the season his Tigers had, and the interest he seems to take in the Wolverines, seeing legitimate discussions heat up with him would not be surprising in the least bit.
As for Mullen, he made a comment after his team’s loss to Ole Miss about how he can’t wait for that game again next season. As a coach, you should always operate under the assumption that this isn’t your last season, but Mullen seems like a very comfortable fit with the Bulldogs. Still, his is a name that could be popping up more seriously this offseason.
Talk of David Shaw, Jerry Kill and Greg Schiano doesn’t seem to be backed by a whole lot, but they’re intriguing nonetheless. Shaw worked under Harbaugh at Stanford before taking over. Kill has done a nice job turning around Minnesota’s program. Schiano was a bust in the NFL, but the time he spent at Rutgers could be enough to convince some that he shouldn’t be ruled out for this potential opening at Michigan.
The bottom line: It will be important to understand that Michigan can’t possibly be in that “Harbaugh or bust” state of mind. Though he should easily be the top candidate, there are a few others who are well qualified and could have some very nice things to bring to Michigan.
Tyler Fenwick is the managing editor of The Big House Report. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.