San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has reportedly accepted Michigan's offer to return to his alma mater and become the Wolverines' next head coach, according to CSNBayArea.com, which reports that Harbaugh will be announced at a press conference in Ann Arbor on Tuesday morning. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report and writer John U. Bacon, author of several books about Michigan football, also reported on Saturday that Harbaugh was expected to accept the Michigan job.
Michigan officials were in the Bay Area this weekend to meet with Harbaugh, who is expected to part ways with the 49ers shortly after Sunday's season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Michigan has reportedly offered Harbaugh a six-year, $48 million contract.
"That's what everybody on staff believes is going to happen this week," one of the sources said in Cole's report, which cited two members of the 49ers' coaching staff and an NFL source. "Jim has figured out that his style is best suited for the college game. His shtick works better with young guys who are gone after three or four years."
Last week, Harbaugh's brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, denied reports suggesting his family was pushing Jim to return to Michigan. But no other significant leads have emerged from Michigan's search, and Harbaugh refused to confirm Friday that he would resign after the 49ers' final game.
The Oakland Raiders, along with other NFL teams, have also been expected to pursue Harbaugh, who has gone 43-19-1 in his four seasons with the 49ers and led the team to three NFC championship games and one Super Bowl. Tampering rules have prevented pro teams from engaging in direct talks with Harbaugh.
Harbaugh, 51, played quarterback for Michigan from 1983-86, famously guaranteeing a win against rival Ohio State in his senior season. He spent part of his childhood in Ann Arbor while his father was an assistant under legendary former Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler, who Harbaugh went on to play for, and attended Pioneer High School, located across the street from Michigan Stadium.
After his 15-year NFL career ended in 2001, Harbaugh immediately entered coaching, serving as the Raiders' quarterbacks coach in 2002 and 2003. He spent the next three years as the head coach at San Diego, an FCS program, before taking the Stanford job in 2007.
Harbaugh went 29-21 in four years with the Cardinal, going from a 4-8 performance his first season to a 12-1, Orange Bowl-winning year in 2010 with future No. 1 pick Andrew Luck at quarterback.
Harbaugh was also believed to be a candidate when Michigan conducted its last coaching search after the 2010 season but was ultimately hired by the 49ers in early January 2011. Michigan hired Brady Hoke several days later.
Hoke was fired earlier this month after going 31-20 in four seasons.
- Mike Fiammetta