If Jim Harbaugh and Michigan decide to part ways after five years, Harbaugh would be one of the hottest coaching options on the market. The 55-year-old is currently in his second stint at the collegiate level, having coached the Wolverines since 2015, and at Stanford from 2007-2010. In 2011, he was hired as head coach by the 49ers, and was named the NFL Coach of the Year, as well as lead the Niners to the NFC Championship game in his first year on the job. The following season, he led San Francisco all the way to the Super Bowl, where they fell to the Ravens 34-31.
In four seasons as head coach of the 49ers, Harbaugh went 44-19-1 and never had a losing season. The only basis for his dismissal was an alleged “power struggle” with team ownership. He made the playoffs in three of the four years, and won the division twice. Harbaugh also was known for his positive relationships with his quarterbacks, namely Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick, both of whom thrived under Harbaugh’s leadership. In nine seasons at Stanford and Michigan, he has a career record of 76-38, and has finished in the top 14 of the AP poll five times. Harbaugh has also won on the recruiting trail, where has posted top-eight recruiting classes in three of the last five years.
While Michigan reportedly plans to retain Harbaugh for the 2020 campaign, should the Panthers come calling, Harbaugh would be wise to at least consider the position. As of now, both he and the Wolverines appear to be focused on winning games in Ann Arbor, however, there’s a chance David Tepper could pull some strings and land the high-energy head coach. If Harbaugh feels the situation is right, he could be a great fit for the Panthers moving forward.