I’ve hesitated to write this even though I have mentioned it in passing on social media because I couldn’t confirm it with more than one source but I am now told by multiple sources that Jim Harbaugh and Michigan will mutually separate at the end of the season.
The same folks who FIRST told me Harbaugh was coming to Michigan tell me he is leaving at the end of the season.
Harbaugh has become disillusioned with the administration in Ann Arbor and their zeal to win. He wants to win more than the folks at the top and the continual drumbeat for him to “tone it down” have caused him to lose belief and passion in the schools passion to compete with Ohio State. This is obviously why the current Harbaugh isn’t the same guy who blew into Ann Arbor to resuscitate the Wolverines. It’s blatantly obvious he is not the same guy by his demeanor on the sidelines.
His bosses want to win, on their terms and that simply can’t happen with Ohio State killing it in Columbus. He can’t get some kids he wants and they do not want him making a spectacle of himself while trying to will the Wolverines to the top.
I’m told he has confided privately to some folks around the program that this isn’t his “Michigan” and he just can’t find it in himself to settle for 8, 9 or 10 wins a season. He wants more and his fire has gone out to fight the administration. Jim loves Michigan and wants to see it win big but the road blocks are to big and the University’s stomach is weak.
He isn’t faultless, but understand, he did everything he could and was met with road block after road block. Tell me where we’ve heard this before.
Michigan is a far left institution and football is a largely conservative sports, the two don’t mix. U of M has always been more interested in the process than the outcome and Jim wasn’t able to change the culture as he’d hoped.
The parting will be mutual and Harbaugh will likely coach again at the NFL level but I am told he will be treated with class and dignity as NOBODY wants a favorite son to go out in a negative manner. The University understands what Harbaugh sacrificed when he bolted the NFL to try to save the program and they will not do anything to negatively harm Harbaugh, his family or legacy but they both understand that Jim and the University are going in different directions. It isn’t a secret that he isn’t under contract after next year (which is unprecedented), which is why he lost Rocco Spindler and likely more recruits including Donovan Edwards!
Understand, even with Harbaugh gone, things likely won’t improve as the administration will still be in place. The next guy will almost assuredly get the same results or worse because the University isn’t “all in” on football or any sport for that matter. The next coach will have to be a superior X’s and O’s guy because he won’t get the same athletes as Ohio State, Alabama or Clemson. This is what Michigan is now, they successfully destroyed Michigan’s best hope for big success by beating him down to fit the University’s model.
Bad news for Michigan, bad news for football. I’d love to have better insight for you, but this is wear things appear to stand right now.
Some minor details may be off, but this is the big picture. I hope my sources are completely wrong, but they are rarely not 100% correct. The only caveat I was given is that if he runs the table there might be mutual interest in his return but that is unlikely. What will it say about Michigan football if Harbaugh returns to the NFL and is a huge success?
I’m sure I’ll have more info in the coming days!