Following an impressive 11-1 season and a BCS bowl victory at Stanford, Harbaugh had first dibs of the vacant coaching positions in the college and pro ranks. He was rumored to be coaching a number of places for weeks, but settled on his hometown San Francisco 49ers. The hope is that he'll help end the 49ers' eight-year playoff drought.
2 of 6AP
Rivera took a team ranked 16th in total defense and 31st in passing defense in 2009 to first place in both categories this past season. He will now look to implement a winning philosophy as the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers, owners of a league worst 2-14 record in 2010. The first-time head coach will get the turnaround started with the first overall selection in the upcoming draft.
3 of 6Simon Bruty/SI
After the firing of Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier inherited a 3-7 Minnesota team and got the Vikings to play competitive again. They won their first two games under Frazier and finished 3-3 with him as the interim head coach, including a surprising 24-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16. Because of his efforts in the second-half, Frazier was named head coach of Minnesota at the end of the season.
4 of 6Al Tielemans/SI
Garrett took over one of the more disappointing teams of the 2010 season and turned it into a second-half winner. The Dallas Cowboys were 1-7 before Garrett was named interim head coach, but promptly went 5-3 for the remainder of the season to land him a four-year contract as the new head coach.
5 of 6Todd Kirkland/Icon SMI
Despite a 2-14 record that got him fired at Carolina, John Fox found a new job quickly. New Vice President of football operations John Elway and the Denver Broncos made him the 14th head coach in franchise history, partly based on his history of coaching competitive defenses turning teams around. Fox inherited a 1-15 Panthers team in 2002 and promptly took the team to the Super Bowl in 2003.
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Pat Shurmur has his work cut out for him as the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Shurmur started his NFL coaching career as the quarterbacks coach of the Eagles and was hired as the St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator in 2009. His mentorship of quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Sam Bradford will be an asset when he comes to coaching second-year Browns QB Colt McCoy. Shurmur has played a role on a playoff team seven times as a coordinator and missed the postseason by one game last year with the Rams. The Browns have one playoff appearance in the last 12 seasons.
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