JIM HARBAUGH...CURRENT JOB:
Head Coach, Stanford UniversityHISTORY:
Stanford Head Coach (2007-present) San Diego University Head Coach (2004-2006) Raiders Offensive Assistant (2002-2003, given title of QB Coach in 2003) Western Kentucky University Volunteer Assistant (1994-2001)DOB:
Great offensive mind, comes from a coaching family (worked with father Jack at WKU, brother John is head coach of the Baltimore Ravens) Has been on the rise and gotten pro attention (Jets interviewed him before going with Rex Ryan)QUESTIONS:
Minimal pro coaching experience. College coaches haven’t had such a stellar record coming into the NFL lately, and while he’s had some success as a college coach, he hasn’t contended for a national championship just yetPANTHER CONNECTIONS:
His defensive coordinator is Vic Fangio, the very first DC of the Panthers (under Dom Capers). Harbaugh also employs another coach from the early Panther days. Specifically, Greg Roman, who was a defensive assistant and assistant strength and conditioning coach from 1995 to 2001. And then there’s special teams coach Brian Polian. Three guesses whose son he is.(ironically enough, one of Bill Polian's first moves with the Colts was to ship Harbaugh out of town)
In addition to that, Harbaugh finished his 15 year pro playing career with the Panthers in 2001 (dressed for six games, no playing time). The Panthers salary cap manager at the time of Harbaugh’s signing was a fellow by the name of Marty Hurney, so you’d expect the two to at least be acquainted. Hurney mentor Bobby Beathard had brought Harbaugh to the Chargers for the 1999 and 2000 seasons. It's quite possible that Beathard suggested acquiring Harbaugh to Hurney in 01. One of the scouts working for Beathard at the time was Don Gregory, now the Panthers Director of College Scouting. Unknown if Gregory and Harbaugh are acquainted. Beathard's son Jeff - then a scout for the Chargers, now one for the Panthers - may also have met Harbaugh a time or two out in San Diego.
Harbaugh is probably more than just "acquainted" with a couple of Panthers assistants. TE Coach Geep Chryst was director of research and quality control for the Chicago Bears from 1991 to 1995. Harbaugh was the Bears starting QB till 1994 when he left for the Colts. He and Chryst were reunited in 1999 when Chryst became the OC for the Chargers. Chryst's Panthers bio (link
) includes this blurb:
While with San Diego, Chryst was instrumental in the implementation and development of the team's productive, no-huddle offense. In 1999, the Chargers completed the most passes (332) in 13 years, and quarterback Jim Harbaugh enjoyed the second-highest passing output of his 15-year NFL career and became San Diego's first quarterback since Hall of Famer Dan Fouts to pass for 400 yards in a game.
Harbaugh also has worked with Panthers Strength and Conditioning Coach Jerry Simmons for two seasons. One, of course, was his season with the Panthers in 2001. The other year was 1998, when Simmons was working for the Ravens. Harbaugh spent one season in Baltimore - starting 12 games - right after his four year stint with the Colts. Harbaugh might also have a passing acquaintance with OL Coach Dave Magazu. Magazu was a graduate assistant / coaching intern working with the offensive line at the University of Michigan in 1983, Harbaugh's freshman year. Former Panthers DL Coach and DC Mike Trgovac was also on the Michigan staff in 84 and 85.
Having mentioned the Colts, Harbaugh spent four years playing for them. Panthers owner Jerry Richardson played two years for the Colts. That, of course, was three years before Harbaugh was born, and in Baltimore rather than Indianapolis.
As far as teammates who actually played in the same era, Harbaugh played alongside more than a few guys who also wore a Panthers jersey at some point. The list includes center Jeff Mitchell, fullbacks Bob Christian and Chris Hetherington, runningbacks Natrone Means, Vince Workman and Dewell Brewer, tight end (temporarily) Freddie Jones, defensive backs Emmanuel McDaniel, Donnell Woolford and Derwin Gray, linebackers Steve Tovar, Paul "Dr. Psycho" Butcher and Phil Yeboah-Kodie, punters Tommy Barnhardt and Rohn Stark, and long snapper Mark Rodenhauser. Harbaugh also played in Chicago with safety John Mangum, older brother of Panthers tight end Kris. Another Bears guy - for three games in 1987 anyway, as a replacement player - was a young quarterback by the name of Sean Payton (yep, that
And make of this what you will. After a 2008 game between Notre Dame and Stanford (the Irish won 28-21) Jimmy Clausen went to shake hands with Harbaugh, but Harbaugh turned and walked away. Harbaugh later said that he didn't see Clausen whom, incidentally, he had recruited before Clausen committed to Notre Dame.
Last but not least, Harbaugh's brother - Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh - was the TE Coach for the University of Pittsburgh in 1987. Pitt's defensive coordinator / secondary coach that year was current Panthers head coach John Fox. Fox and John Harbaugh are friends. Whether or not he knows Jim, and/or what effect this might have on Jim should he be offered the Panthers job, are unknown.WHO HE MIGHT BRING WITH HIM:
Fangio and Roman would be no shock, but no lock either. Polian would be ironic, and unlikely. Should the Chargers not retain him, he could offer a landing spot to old Bears teammate Ron Rivera as a DC or an LB coach. The same could be said of Mike Singletary (who's probably more likely to be looking for a job than Rivera, though both are possible). Also, you have to wonder, if the Panthers had a high enough pick to nab Stanford QB Andrew Luck, would Harbaugh go for him and perhaps attempt to trade current starter Jimmy Clausen to whatever West Coast Offense team would give up a decent offer?WHY WE MIGHT NOT GET HIM:
Jerry Richardson's interview and hiring history has focused primarily on pro-level coordinators and/or coaches. The only exception I can think of is Steve Spurrier, whose interview didn't go particularly well. ODDS AND ENDS:
Harbaugh once slugged former Bills QB Jim Kelly for questioning his toughness - he apparently called Harbaugh "a baby" - while Kelly was an analyst for NBC. He later apologized (sort of). Also had a bit of a dustup with Pete Carroll over comments he made about Carroll leaving for the NFL (turned out he was right). He's got a pinky finger on his right hand that doesn't quite go in the right direction, not that it means anything. Has a Twitter page (http://twitter.com/jimharbaugh
) which is a bit unusual for a football coach. Also is co-owner of an Indy Racing League team called, ironically enough, Panther Racing.ANALYSIS:
Harbaugh’s definitely one of the more intriguing options, but it’s up in the air whether he’s really ready to be a pro head coach. To quote the old Magic 8-Ball though, the signs point to "Yes". If he were to be hired, he’d likely have an easy time getting acquainted since he already seems to have met or worked with half the employees in the organization at one time or another.
Harbaugh would be the first primarily offensive-minded coach in Panther history. Some would say that’s a plus, since hiring offensive minded coaches are the hot thing these days. Throw in that, given what I've seen about his personality, there's a good chance he'd give the beat writers a lot more to write about than John Fox ever did.
I'll admit I didn't take him quite as seriously at first, but the more I've researched, the more I've come to believe that he's the right man for the job.
Here's hoping he gets it.READ UP: Stanford Coaching BioWATCH: 2007 Coach's Close Up with Jim HarbaughUPDATE:
There are now strong indications that Harbaugh won't get the job here, but the reasons why depend on who you ask.
If you believe the official team story, he was never in the picture.
If you believe Gantt, the team has reached out to him but found his demands regarding roster control to be a bit too much.
Which is the truth? Don't know, but the result is the same either way. the worry now is that he could conceivably stay at Stanford, a move which might jeopardize the chances of the Panthers getting QB Andrew Luck.
Edited by Mr Scot, 04 January 2011 - 04:53 PM.