Coaching Search 2014: Is Jim Harbaugh a legit candidate for Kansas?


Here's the quick coaching search nugget of the day as it pertains to the KU football program.

Although the search still has yet to start — (a) because the program would like to see what it's got in interim coach Clint Bowen and (b) because it's barely October and most, if not all, of the viable candidates for the job are busy working their butts off at other schools — there seems to be at least a tidbit or two of information floating around every couple of days.

Lately, a lot of that information has focused on San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh, as you know, was rumored to be thiiiisss close to taking the job when Turner Gill got it, but things, according to popular opinion, blew up at the last second and the Jayhawks were left with Gill.

One of the big draws for Harbaugh then was that his wife grew up in the Kansas City area and is a KU fan. Well, if you believe what's being thrown out there right now, you're likely thinking that that's a big draw again this time around.

Various reports have said that Harbaugh and the 49ers are not exactly seeing eye to eye at the moment, and many of them indicate that the Niners head coach is unlikely to return to the Bay Area in 2015.

Does that mean he's coming to Kansas? Hardly.

Could it happen? You bet. But is all of this current buzz an indicator that it's going to or even that he would be the leading candidate? Nope.

I'm sure if Harbaugh were interested in the job — and that part, to me, is not that big of a stretch — he could make his interest known and perhaps even contact KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger himself to check the temperature on the job. Doing so would go a long way toward helping his chances.

But even if Harbaugh ultimately decides to go after the job, he's not exactly a slam dunk, no-brainer hire for Kansas.

Here are a few reasons Harbaugh could have trouble landing the job:

• The price tag could be too high. For one, it doesn't sound to me like KU's interested in paying the $3-$5 million per year range that Harbaugh could command, so right there he could be pricing himself out of the job. Even if KU was willing to pay big bucks, there's no way Harbaugh's salary would exceed what Kansas pays Bill Self, who, in 2013, signed a 10-year, $50 million extension.

• Speaking of Self, could Harbaugh work at a school where he and the football program were not the kings of the castle?

• Harbaugh had a ton of success at Stanford and clearly is more than capable of doing a solid job at the collegiate level, but he'd be coming to Kansas directly from the NFL and I'm guessing that both Zenger and the KU fan base might be a little gun-shy about that, given the NFL ties of their last head coach.

• There's no question that Harbaugh would draw a ton of attention from Michigan, his alma mater, if the Wolverines' job came open and that possibility could keep KU from pursuing Harbaugh too heavily. For one, if the situation at Michigan suddenly turned favorable — better pay, a new AD, etc. — then KU, in its current state, probably could not compete. For two, even if KU could land Harbaugh now, you'd have to wonder if the lure of his alma mater or even the NFL again would be a problem down the road.

None of this means Harbaugh is a bad option for Kansas or that the Jayhawks should stay away. He's a proven coach with an incredible track record who, if truly committed, probably could get Kansas back on the right track in a hurry.

But there are at least a few concerns that might keep KU from getting too invested in Harbaugh too soon.

I'd say he remains a solid candidate but probably isn't in the top couple of names on Zenger's list as things stand today. We all know how quickly things can change, though, so buckle up and get ready for this thing to heat up when November hits.


Michael Maris 7 years ago

Well Matt, I'm of the mindset that Harbaugh would command more than $5,000,000.00 a season from Kansas. With U. of Michigan & Oakland Raider's both in search of a new Head Coach, I believe that the University of Kansas Jayhwaks football program is way down at the bottom of Harbaugh's list.

But, I'll say this, your mention that Kansas isn't going to pay more $$$$$$$$$ to a newly named Head Football Coach than what Bill Self is currently making is a little disturbing. Since, NCAA Football makes more TV $$$$$$$$$$$$'s than NCAA College Basketball does.

So, you make it sound as if Coach Self would be exactly like Coach Roy Williams was when Kansas hired Mark Mangino. I hope that Coach Self isn't quite as self centered as Williams was back then. Perhaps, I'm wrong. But, I think that Self is a lot more secure than Williams was.

Chris Spangenburg 7 years ago

I agree on Self ... i think he'd be ecstatic about someone like Harbaugh coming in ...

Aaron Paisley 7 years ago

Bill Self knows that an elite football program can give a boost to the basketball program, even one as elite as KU. Illinois was doing very well in football when Self was there and I believe that helped Self land some of the players he did that took Illinois to the title game the year after Self left.

Al Martin 7 years ago

The story I heard at the time wasn't that Williams wanted more money for himself, but for his assistants...

John Fitzgerald 7 years ago

Answered all my questions! Thanks Tait!

Chris Spangenburg 7 years ago

I disagree whole heartedly that he would cost too much. KU has the resources to pay him what his hiring would command. If he wanted to come here, KU couldn't afford NOT to bring him in. He would be instant offense, instant recruits, and instant donor checks. Period.

That said, I highly doubt he makes his way here if we're being honest. That doesn't really bother me much because I want to see Clint win this job, and I think he can show enough this year to get it, and put KU in a great position over the long haul.

Doug Cramer 7 years ago

So are you saying you would rather have Clint Bowen over Jim Harbough ?

Chris Spangenburg 7 years ago

You don't read well. I think I made it clear you take Harbaugh if we can get him for the reasons I gave.

Micky Baker 7 years ago


Doug only claims to be realistic, but never is in real life. If you're not in lock-step with his views, he accuses you of "not wanting a successful program", as if he's a real fan and you're not.

Doug Cramer 7 years ago

Hey I love you too Micky. Have a good day buddy.

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

Oh my. That's twice in a week that I'm agreeing with Doug. Scary times.

That being said, Harbaugh is by far the best possible out come. "Zenger and the KU fan base might be a little gun-shy about that, given the NFL ties of their last head coach", but huge there's a huge difference between the NFL & NCAA success of the previous coach and Harbaugh. The most casual fan should be able to see as much.

Chris Spangenburg 7 years ago

If he's gun shy getting Harbaugh, then he should be walked out the door ASAP.

Doug Cramer 7 years ago

Chris - when you type

"That doesn't really bother me much because I want to see Clint win this job"

it sounds like you really want Bowen over everyone.

My apologies for the mis-interpretation.

John Fitzgerald 7 years ago

I've had this issue with you before in the past Doug as far as mis-interpreting or taking what I say out of context, but I think Chris is simply saying he's rooting for Bowen to get the job. In no way after reading his statement did I get the vibe that he would rather have Bowen than Harbaugh. And if he did I don't think there's much of an argument there. Bowen is a great guy and I think would be a successful head coach. Big difference is Harbaugh would bring immediate recruits and success. With Bowen it would take a little time. No harm Doug, I just hope you start reading things as they are as opposed to how they seem.

Jonathan Allison 7 years ago

I read it as he wants to see the team be successful over the next 7 games, leaving Zenger with no choice but to promote Bowen to HC.

Richard Duran 7 years ago

HAHAHAHAAHHAHHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHha! Jim Harbaugh? thats hilarious! why in God's name would he come to KU? Get Doering, please!

David A. Smith 7 years ago

You apparently didn't get the memo. He was essentially hired last time, but Lou wouldn't let him coach his team in the post season.

Richard Duran 7 years ago

OK. Do you want a guy who will alienate his players and be gone in 4 years? then who? Get Doering or Warriner.

Chris Bailey 7 years ago

I'll take it. If we can get someone here and mind you if he leaves he has to have made it work here or no one would want to hire him. So yes ill take Harbaugh for 4yrs. What have we had other than Mangino? The last coach to win was Mason. So we sit here having hired two total failures at coach. We have people on here wanting little rays of sunshine to stream down and the football God's to just take pity on us. Football is tough. We need a coach with guts and balls! We need someone with passion and fire and a winner. Maybe it isn't JH. Maybe it's someone else. This is a business and without a decent football program that business isn't very good. Sure we've got basketball but I wanna win in football. You want a cheap coach then hire Randy Dreiling. I guarantee you he'd do more with less than any coach we've seen. He gets every last bit of talent out of his kids. We fired Mangino why? Because he was mean. Big deal. Yeah maybe he went too far but we allow people to.commit murder and still play but a guy pokes a player and yells and that's where we draw the line. I was raised to be tough and competitive. You give all you have in athletes or get out. Get whomever but get us a winner. If you think Harbaugh isn't a winner and the others you named are then I don't know what else to say. They've proven no more than he has so to discount him as a.candidate would be insane.

David A. Smith 7 years ago

I'm not sure who I want, if Bowen ends up not being the guy. You have to admit, if he demonstrates that he can do it, he has to be the guy. No one loves KU the way he does. He'd be a lifer- and if that were combined with a real competency for the position, he would be a highly effective counter to Snyder.

Lucas Town 7 years ago

Lew Perkins! Just another mistake on his part that has cost us years and money!

Kyle Sybesma 7 years ago

I live in Denver and listen to morning sports radio and a weekly guest, Chris Landry, said he didn't think Jim would take the Michigan job but also said Jim's an unpredictable guy. He then went on to talk about Harbaugh almost going to KU because of his wife and that the job was open again. He didn't think it would happen but it's interesting to hear it talked about outside the KU circle.

I'm intriged by Ed Warinner. He's been successful at KU. He's been at Army and Air Force which screams discipline. He's been at Notre Dame under Brian Kelly and currently under Urban Meyer at Ohio State. That's a great resume.

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

Warinner would be a great option IMO. He's got past relationship with a couple of the assistants, and might retain enough assistants to provide some desperately needed continuity while cleaning out any residual that would hold the program back.

Chris Bailey 7 years ago

If we can get Harbaugh we get him period. Comparing him to Weis is insane. He wins! Weis doesn't! Go get Harbaugh Zinger! We can pay him if we paid Weis and Gill a combined 4.5 millon. We can spend the money if we get a winner. He brings instant credibility to our program. If he'll come we do whatever it takes to get him here period. How the heck can this be up for debate? And how are you making an off the cuff comment that people may not wanna dip back into the NFL well with how it worked with Weis. Come on. Weis proved he couldn't win. All Harbaugh has done is prove he CAN win.

Erich Hartmann 7 years ago

And to be honest, the only place Weis won was in the NFL (Pats and Chiefs) also. We can now say (after NDame and KU) that Weis's system needs pro-level talent, and Weis will be just fine sitting up in the box calling his plays.

Matt Tait 7 years ago

It'll happen, Daniel. Way too early for that, though. I at least need the search to start so I can start working some angles and trying to find out some good info.

If this will help you get by until then, I think David Beaty, Clint Bowen and Ed Warinner might be the three best candidates for the specific fit.

Lots of blogs and research ahead, though.

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

Matt - Interesting links for Harbaugh in the comments of this article.

Chandler Accipiter 7 years ago

Can he bring Kaepernick with him? If so, he's worth it!

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

Do you really think Kap is interested in being a QB Assistant at this time?

Aaron Paisley 7 years ago

If Harbaugh does show the interest this time that he did 5 years ago, the first question has to be how long will he be at KU. He's never been anywhere longer than 4 years and I don't a reason why that wouldn't hold true if he came to KU.

Chris Bailey 7 years ago

Who cares if he stays 4 years. Look at the assistants he left at Stanford and how well that program did and still is doing. I'll take him!

Chayse Patrick 7 years ago

KU does not I repeat does not want a pro coach!!!! It would be totally different situation if in fact he was going to a college with at least a little success the past couple years but as Charly tuna proved to us all is You cannot take a pro coach and put him with a bunch of average 2 and 3 stars players and expect to be successful. It's like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. IT CANNOT BE DONE. period. by the end of December they'll be a lot of big names assts. available. But then who is to say that Clint wouldn't be at top of the list. I think he has already spun a few heads and gotten the attitude going his way.

Chris Bailey 7 years ago

He coached at Standford less than 4 years ago! People stop COMPARING WEIS TO HARBAUGH! Harbaugh WON!!! He did it at the College and Professional level.

Yes If KU can get Harbaugh we most defintely want him. Look what he did at Stanford and tell me you wouldn't take that year in and out!

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

In 2004, Harbaugh was the head coach at the University of San Diego. After leading San Diego to consecutive Pioneer League championships in 2005 and 2006, he moved up to Stanford in 2007 for four seasons and led the Cardinal to two bowl berths, including the 2011 Orange Bowl. I don't think he even had 2 to 3 players at San Diego, tho he wasn't coaching against the same caliber of player.

Robert Brown 7 years ago

Matt. You are very coy with the wording about Harbaugh and KU back in 2009. What really happened? Was it really ever that close? I always felt it was not that close, but I don't know.

You have to realize that the Harbaugh of 2009, who was underpaid at Stanford is different today. He commands a huge paycheck and has a reputation to uphold. Going from Stanford To KU for a bigger paycheck in 2009 would have been a good hire but not a huge shock. KU was relevant on the national stage for the past five years and hiring Harbaugh would be viewed as a good coach to continue KUs football success. Harbaugh could build on what Mangino created.

Harbaugh is now a Super Bowl coach. It would be difficult to make more money at KU unlike last time. KU is now a huge rebuilding job that could easily damage Harbaugh's reputation.

Chris Bailey 7 years ago

I can agree with everything you said. Although I think it was the fact Harbaugh wanted to coach a bowl game. Hard to believe that Perkins would let that come between him and a contract.

I don't think Harbaugh comes here but it's intesting to note that his wife is from the KC area and a KU fan. Both play in our favor and without them I wouldn't even utter his name because it would be like asking Stoops or Saban to come here. It could be interesting. Hope we get lucky!

Jonathan Allison 7 years ago

KU Football certainly much much more appealing 5 years ago when we were just 2 years removed from a 12-1 season and Orange Bowl victory and one year removed from an 8-5 season and an Insight Bowl win and a three year period when fan interest was at an all-time high for KU football. Certainly it's a much different situation now.

Erich Hartmann 7 years ago

Yeah, this whole memory of Perkins not allowing Harbaugh to coach his bowl game is just shocking if true. Does anyone have the facts on that? If Perkins let that be a condition, then he was a bigger fool than his other actions proved. That would be an amazingly bad decision, and a decision that gets even worse when you realize Perkins took us from almost-Harbaugh --> to Turner F. Gill. Unbelievable!

Kevin Randell 7 years ago

Ok, let me throw out a few things here: 1. As for money? Let's see, we average 14,000 unsold seats a game. So, take the median average of $50 a tickets we lose about 700K in revenue per game. Multiply by 6 games....that equates to 4.2 mil a year....there's your money. If he can do half of what he did at Stanford, he will put cheeks in the seats. 2. Let's say he does come to KU because of his wife's family. Compared to Michigan, what NFL team is in his back yard so he choose to go back to the NFL?.....hmmmm Andy Reid wont coach KC forever. It's a win win because they will take him, especially if he rights the ship at KU, and he still gets to stay in the KC area.

I agree, he's not the slam dunk choice because I am concerned that some of the KU fan base may not like his approach. But if they guy wins games, who cares?

So go ahead and rip me apart for having my opinion, but the difference between this guy and Weis is that he has demonstrated success as a Head Coach at both levels. I say if there is a chance, KU should look into it.

Chris Bailey 7 years ago

I'm on your side completely. It is nothing but a win-win for KU. If we CAN hire him and DON'T Zinger should be fired immediately. If it's a pipe dream fine but I agree with everything you said including filling the stadium!

Richard Duran 7 years ago

Mason and Mangino won, thy were not all sweetness and light, and Mangino got fired. So someone cares how he wins, right? another point: our biggest failing has been QB play. Look what has happened with Kap in SF. He hasn't shown improvement. Can we trust Harbaugh to get and develop a top QB?

Suzi Marshall 7 years ago

I can't imagine any scenario of Kansas not taking Harbaugh if he wants the job. I'm sure Zinger will find a lot of support with the alums and paying a guy with his record is a great investment.

Kevin, if Kansas football turns around and we approach sellout crowds, the ticket price will go up...way up. It's downright embarrassing the low price of our football tickets but if they raised the price with the product on the field, ticket sales would crash, like todays stock market..

Kevin Randell 7 years ago

I understand the concerns, but look at it this way. Do you think the price for tickets to KU Basketball are too expensive? Apparently, 16+ thousand people per game don't think so? Why?.....because people will see a winner! Bottom line is, we have Alumni with deep pockets who have been sitting on their money because the administration has not put a winning product on the field. The thing is, we have to quit thinking with just a basketball school mindset. As for questions about Harbaugh's ability to groom a QB? You have to remember that the NFL is different than the college level. There you have to deal with a GM and owner on who you can bring in. But, I like to look at his college experience. He did pretty good with a kid named Andrew Luck. AGAIN, I am just saying, "if" there is a chance to get him, we should seriously look at it. Unlike Weis, he has a successful HC record.

Chris Oestreich 7 years ago

Matt and followers. I know it is your job to write articles and speculate. Keep in mind none of that speculation helps us at this point. The less the players are distracted by fans on message boards and articles written about potential candidates the greater chance the program has to take positive steps. Matt you have done a great job, keep the positive articles coming!!!

Michael Leiker 7 years ago

I'm with you Chris, I like everything I'm hearing from Bowen and I hope all KU fans give him an honest shot at a hearts and minds level.

Matt Tait 7 years ago

Sorry, Chris. Think your thoughts about telling the fans to keep things in check is great, but it's my job to cover the search and that's what I'm going to do and what we'll do better than anyone else. We'll give our thoughts on the rumors and chatter floating around. We'll talk to sources and get info on candidates and interviews. And we'll provide insight into what's going on, when and why. It'll be a fun time to follow the news, so sit back and enjoy the next couple of months. And thanks for checking out the site and our stuff. Have a great day!

Kevin Randell 7 years ago

Matt, I understand where you are coming from. I know there are those who feel any report of a coaching search is basically closing the door on Bowen's chances. I personally have taken the stance of he has a 7 game interview. That's more than 99% of the candidates interested in this job will get. If he does well and wins some games or even creates a competitive product on the field, then he deserves a chance. But if we don't see a change, or enough to make the Administration, Boosters, or Alumni feel confident he is the guy, then we need to look elsewhere. Keep doing what you're doing, and I will keep an eye out for "The Wheel of Tait" (tm).

Chris Bailey 7 years ago


Do you have a fake account so you can yell at people when they make you mad. ;) Haha. Just Kidding. I appreciate the story and hope like crazy we hire the RIGHT guy this time.

Matt Tait 7 years ago

No fake account and not really the yelling type. If I want to say something, I usually just say it and use my real name. Best way to go.

It's still so early in the "search" that there's really no point in getting too fired up about or fixed on one guy. A lot can happen between now and December and it's going to be a lot of fun to track all of the happenings, with serious, factual stories and fun, more-light-hearted looks at the search.

Don't worry, we'll give you all you could want and then some. Gotta let it fire up a little first, though.

Andy Tweedy 7 years ago

Isn't Jim Harbaugh coming to KU kind of like KU playing a road game at Emporia State? Just what exactly does it get Jim Harbaugh? He already built a college program, so it's not like we don't know if he can do that. He's going to get rich anywhere he goes. And so his wife's from KC, big deal...he's NOT! I just don't see how this would ever happen.

Robert Brock 7 years ago

If I'm Harbaugh I'm wondering:

Where do you get dim sum in Lawrence?

Are there Zagat ratings in Lawrence in the double digits?

Does catfish count as sea food?

Matthew Gaylor 7 years ago

I'll say this, Harbaugh won't come.

But to answer some of the points, ESPN has already suggested if he did go back to college, it would be to KU. Although KU likely won't pay 5 million, it wouldn't shock me to see KU pay 3 million. Why? Because it's Harbaugh. He would put all the fans back in the stadium and proved he could win at Stanford. Also, 3 million in Kansas is a huge #. Although taxes and everything can get tricky, 3 million in Kansas is about 3.5 in Michigan, and 4ish in California. Plus, Harbaugh would be king in Kansas. Self would still be 1st but Harbaugh would be right up there with him. Self wouldn't care about that, and Harbaugh has his family right there so he wouldn't care about being king of a school. He'd be able to go to his brother in laws games in the KC area as well.

Also, if Harbaugh was interested, there's no way KU wouldn't jump on it. Harbaugh is a proven winner no matter where he goes. It's not like he was Weis who got fired at ND because he couldn't win. Harbaugh won at Stanford and took them to the top. Players in the NFL are reportedly tired of him running college like practices, so we know he can still coach college players.

Once again, I truly don't think Harbaugh will go to KU. He won't be going to college IMO. I think he'd rather stay in the NFL, but if he did, I'd put money on it to KU than any other college. Plus, his wife does wear the pants in the family.

Dirk Medema 7 years ago

COL is a good pt, but CA is more like 35% more than KS vs. 17%.

That being said, IMO he could probably get at least $4M with incentives to $5M/match Coach Self.

Micky Baker 7 years ago

The part about the money is true. You can buy 4 really nice homes in Lawrence for the price of one in San Francisco and surrounding areas. There isn't a transportation tax in Lawrence or a local usage income tax in Lawrence. He may have been making $6 to $7 million a year, but he only took home $3 to $3.5 million at the very most. $5 million in Lawrence has a higher value than $7 million at San Francisco.

With that said, if Harbaugh wants the job and he reaches out to Zenger to express it then Harbaugh is playing on Zengers' terms. If Zenger reaches out to him, then Zenger has to play on Harbaugh's terms. We'll see what happens. If there is a way we can get him, we better get him.

But KU has to be careful. We would want to keep some of the current staff in place, but I do think he could bring some big time assistants with him like Leavitt who already has ties in Kansas from being assistant at Kansas State. We should probably include in the deal to keep Campo and some other guys on the staff who could some day be good candidates for head coach if Harbaugh receives an offer to coach the Chiefs or something like that. I still don't think it's likely though.

Scott Perlmutter 7 years ago

This is laughable. Saying Zenger would not be ecstatic over a possible Jim Harbaugh hire should be grounds for 5150 psychiatric hold.

When Zenger reached out to Pat Narduzzi (DC - Michigan State) and Scott Frost (OC - Oregon), Narduzzi declined because it wasn't a big enough job for him (he withdrew from UCONN last year).

Jim Harbaugh currently makes $5M and went to 49ers management last season to negotiate a raise to bring his salary to the $7-8M range and in line with that other elite NFL coaches. Many NFL teams would be willing to pay him +$7M. Brady Hoke will be gone at seasons end in Michigan and they could pay him $6-7M and even that would be light. KU could pay in the $5M range on a stretch but that would be unlikely unless some donors stepped up big.

The current coaching list that has had feelers out include: David Beaty Ed Orgeron Brent Venables (DC- Clemson) Scott Frost (OC - Oregon) Pat Narduzzi (DC - Michigan State) - declined interest in the job

and Clint Bowen

Joe Ross 7 years ago

What if I told you that I know Jim Harbaugh's sister-in-law "Anna" who lives in the Kansas City area and she told me that Harbaugh was never close to taking the coaching job at Kansas?

Kyle Seiwert 7 years ago

GASP What? Actually, what I would say is that you could lay out the entire story, with intensely detailed notes, and the majority of people won't believe you because that doesn't fit the narrative that people hope to create.

Robert Brown 7 years ago

I would believe you. As mentioned earlier, I have never read anything by any of the reporters that indicate he was that close. There have been a lot of rumors that Perkins wouldn't let him coach a bowl game. It is hard to believe that and that alone is the reason he decided not to come to KU.

Micky Baker 7 years ago

I'd believe you. I think that maybe KU thought they had a chance and were left with very few choices by trying to pursue him and waited too long to find the guy. Of course, we didn't have an Athletic Director during the 2010 season. KU didn't have anyone to fill in the gaps and may have had some unrealistic expectations.

I also don't believe that Perkins wouldn't allow Harbaugh to coach a bowl game. If any of that was true, I would think that Perkins didn't want to wait until after Stanford coached in the bowl to announce it, but I don't think we were ever close to getting Harbaugh then. How we ended up with Gill probably had something to do with how the Mangino exit was handled by people that were pulling Perkins strings, and there really wasn't any reason they couldn't have reprimanded Mangino rather than firing him. Maybe suspend him as head coach for a couple of games, which wouldn't have mattered. We lost 7 straight in 2009 any way, and hindsight is 20/20. Perkins had a target on his back as soon as Gray-Little arrived in 2009. Little is a politician first, second, third, and fourth. All this hit the fan when she arrived except for the ticket scandal which was a bunch of criminals in the ticket office. Those people were terminated and most of them were charged and convicted of the frauds they committed.

Joe Ross 7 years ago

Well the verdict is in. The above is entirely true.

John Fitzgerald 7 years ago

I believe it ... I didn't hear he was close to being hired until recently anyways. Sounded, looked, and smelled like mumbo jumbo from the start.

Erich Hartmann 7 years ago

Gill got hired by Lew, sweetheart deal, they were longtime friends...and Gill's daughter worked for Lew in the athletic dept at KU.

Kyle Seiwert 7 years ago

This entire article/thread sounds like when my co-workers try to get me throw in 5 bucks every week for the group Powerball purchase. If we cross our fingers tight enough, maybe we can win the lottery! Simple logic and football knowledge would dictate that A) The Original Harbaugh to Kansas story was nothing more than internet talk, and that B) If it really came down to "coaching the bowl game", as the deal breaker, I've got some beachfront property in North Dakota for you. Let's pretend any of those two scenarios were true, even though none of them were, what exactly would Perkins care about if Harbaugh coached the bowl game. He "landed the fish", so who cares if he had to wait a few extra weeks? Also, what college football coach in their right mind leaves Stanford for Kansas. If you can find me a similar scenario, I'd love to see it. That would something in the neighborhood of Pete Carroll circa 2004 leaving USC for Baylor. Or Bobby Bowden circa 1999 leaving to coach Wake Forest. Sometimes, Occam's Razor applies. In this case, it absolutely does. Flash forward to now. Harbaugh may or may not be employeed at the end of the season, where upon multiple NFL teams are going to break the bank to sign the guy. His brother just won a Super Bowl title. He, and by all accounts his fairly good sized football ego, is just going to say "Eh, I tried. Let's go coach Kansas football for much less money than the Raiders or the Vikings or the Dolphins are going to pay me". Enjoy all the speculation, but please don't lose sight that this is the worst job in Power 5 football right now, on par with Kansas State in the late 1980s when you factor in the millions of TV dollars and weekly exposure that Kansas gets that Kansas and Kansas State for that matter never came close to receiving in the 1980s. The best talent will be gone next year, Avery included if he has any sense at all, and that nothing about this job screams "sleeping giant". Last two times, Turner Gill and Charlie Weis were hired. That should tell you a lot. That should, in fact, tell you where the position ranks on people's list.

Robert Brown 7 years ago

I have to agree with everything you said. The situation was more plausible last time because 1) Stanford underpaid its coaches and Harbaugh could probably get $1m/ year raise by moving to KU. And 2) KU wasn't the worst team in the Power 5. The team was ranked the early half of the year so KU wasn't perceived as a massive rebuilding job.

With that said, I have never read anything for any of the reports that I dictate Harbaugh was at close to taking the KU job.

Lucas Town 7 years ago

"The best talent will be gone next year," You are absolutely right, and this has me terrified to see what next years team will bring. We lose a ton on defense, a defense I might add is our best unit by far. I don't see the offense getting much better. I could see with us playing South Dakota State, Memphis and at Rutgers that KU will win maybe 1 game next year and South Dakota State is a descent football team in their conference. Could be rough next year too. I pray for competition on our team, and growth among our players.

Keith Richards 7 years ago

KU alumni's opinion of their alma mater is a bit over inflated. No, Harbaugh will not come to KU. Why would he? Our program is one of the worst in the country and we can not afford him as well as the move would be a huge downgrade for his career. Our best shot is trying to steal one of Snyders young assistant coaches and invest in the future.

Erich Hartmann 7 years ago

How is "stealing Snyders young asst coaches" any different that having one of Mason and Mangino's young asst coaches (Bowen)? Bowen has served or played under 5 KU coaches, has seen both good and bad well as spending time at a couple of other college football programs. Let's let him surprise us with 2-3yrs of hard work in the trenches. The program needs that approach if we cannot land a supastar coach like Harbaugh.

Brad Sherp 7 years ago

I know it is a long shot that he wants the job... but if he does, we would be fools not to welcome him with open arms.

As for long term viability, I believe that he would stick around for a while if he did take the job. KU is only a stepping stone job for coaches who aspire for more. What could he aspire to that he doesn't have now? He is the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. There is no higher profile job than that. He has been to the top, and he has nothing to prove to anyone.

Wherever he lands, he will stay for a while.

Jim Stauffer 7 years ago

The one advantage Clint has in winning or losing this job is he is actually working with the players our new coach will have. Warriner, Harbaugh and others being mentioned are not working in comparable situations. Warriner is at OSU which has far superior athletes.

If Clint proves he can bring this group together and accomplish clear and unambiguous improvement, he should be the guy. There are so many advantages to Clint if indeed he can coach at the Big 12 level as a HC. This stuff about being an alumnus, former player, totally committed to KU above all else has a very distinct value as you move forward.

Doug Cramer 7 years ago

I'm sure you're a good dude Jim, but I don't think there has been a single post you've made in the last 6 months that I agree with :)

No way no how should Clint Bowen be even remotely considered to take over this program.

Do you want KU football to be set back further than it already has ? Because thats whats going to happen if Zenger capitulates, and gives in to the nice guy with great political / people skills.

KU fans should not care about what our next coach looks like, smells like, or speaks like. We need to win...period.

Jonathan Allison 7 years ago

If KU can win 2 games out of the next 7, then we will have twice as many conference wins as Weis had in 19 tries, and as many as Gill and Weis had combined in over 4 years. That certainly makes Bowen worth considering for the job. If he manufactures a miracle 3rd win, then he has as many Big 12 wins in 8 games on the job as Kansas had from 2009 thru September 2014. I don't know what coach could beat out Bowen for the position if that happened.

Personally, I think we don't win another game this year, and there's little to no chance Bowen gets the job moving forward. But I hope he wins the games.

Chris Baker 7 years ago

My head coach dream list:

  1. Jim Harbaugh
  2. Mark Mangino
  3. Clint Bowen*
  4. Dave Doeren
  5. Ed Warinner
  6. Pat Narduzzi

*I put Clint at #3, but really I think it totally depends on his performance in the next 7 games. If he can win 2+ games, then I'd move him to the top of the list at #1, because that would be an incredibly impressive performance, AND we could get Bowen CHEAP on a non-guaranteed contract. That way if in 2015 or even 2016 we start having second thoughts again, we can have money in the back to make a big play for a big name. If Bowen wins 1 more game, I'd put him at #3/#4 on my list. If he wins zero games this season, then he probably slides to last place on my list.

With that said, I'd love to hire Clint as our HC, IF he can prove that he deserves it with at least one or two wins. Also, I think the only coach on this list potentially worth $2+ million a year guaranteed is Harbaugh.

For every other candidate, KU just can't afford to play in that range on another gamble, not with over $25+ million dollars thrown away over the last four and a half seasons on coaches who aren't in Lawrence anymore. To put that in perspective, that's $2.32 million PER WIN.

Micky Baker 7 years ago

Jim Harbaugh is far more realistic than Mark Mangino, and Harbaugh is an outside shot at best.

I'm confused as to why you wouldn't have Leavitt on that list? Warriner is a good choice, maybe but I don't think he's been a head coach. Then again, neither was Mangino when he arrived. Doeren might be a good choice as well, but it's not likely. Some of these guys will have to be bought out by Kansas if we want them in addition to paying Weis what he's owed.

Whoever does come is going to have to come with an understanding that if there isn't major improvements on game days, they don't get the guaranteed 4th and 5th year money. If they get the team invited to a Bowl within three years, then they get the 4th and 5th years guaranteed. Attention Zenger: you have to set expectations like this up front. Once you have three years to recruit and develop players, there isn't any reason you shouldn't be able to win 6.

If we had just an average offense this year we'd be no worse than 4-1 and right now with wins over Texas and West Virginia. WVU would have scored less than 33 (24 or less), and Texas may have only scored 7 against us. That is because we wouldn't have given Texas four scoring drives under 30 yards and West Virginia wouldn't have had all those possessions in the first quarter when they scored 16 of their points. They probably would have scored just 7, plus 10, then the kickoff return in the second half.

Also, against Texas, we had 30 plays against Texas in their territory and scored 0. With just an average offense, we would have scored 30 plus in that game.

Glen Miller 7 years ago

I don't want Harbaugh..... I want a guy who will come in, build our program and stick around for a while. If Harbaugh turns us around in 2 or 3 seasons it will just be posturing for a "better" job. He is also a diva in my opinion. Once he gets his feelings hurt, he is awful pouty and thin skinned. KU would be a 3-4 year stepping stone of sorts at most and then we're looking again. I'm tired of the turnover and turnoil. I honestly hope that Bowen shows he can handle the job and gets to remove the interim tag. I have been saying we need someone who thinks of our school as a destination job for years. We need a KU guy that will be successful and I am really pulling for Bowen because I believe him when he says that our school is a sleeping giant and that this coaching job could be a premiere one. Call me hopeful or silly, but I like what this guy stands for and if he can put a good product on the field, then I'm on board. I don't think that he's going to get the job in all honesty.... but I'm hopeful he surprises us all and does well these next 8 weeks. He needs to start by sitting Cozart. I've read all the smoke and mirrors articles about that kid I care to read this year. He just isn't the answer at QB right now. Cummings has always come in and provided a little bit more production when given the chance. It's hard to assess your team when your QB can't get the ball to the players to show what they can do and is the prime reason for so many 3 and outs.........

kellerman411 7 years ago

Who cares?!!! If he turned us around in 2 or 3 years and left, maybe it wouldn't be so damn hard to find a respectable coach to come to KU! Maybe the donors would feel like upgrading the stadium!

Stephen Young 7 years ago

I live in San Francisco. I follow the 49ers. There is a reason, according to everything I've read, heard, and seen, for the tension in the 49ers front office that has caused the 49ers to not lock up this guy to a long-term extension. Think about it: When does an NFL franchise with a coach who's proven he can win at that level NOT do whatever it takes to keep him? When ego and hubris make him an insufferable prima donna who generates chaos and drama behind the scenes. Seems like that's a common, or at least not unheard of, trait among many head coaches, so Harbaugh has to be an extreme nut case for the 49ers (who went through a series of bad head coaches until he arrived) not to be re-signing him, at least to-date.

I find it hard to believe HE was ever close to taking the KU job pre-Gill, no matter what people in the Perkins Administration may have thought. And I don't believe for one second that he would come to KU now--especially if, as seems likely, the Michigan job opens up. And we should be grateful for that! He would be a short-timer, and he would never play second fiddle to Bill Self or anyone else. He would do as much or more harm, than good.

And can someone please explain to me why so many people who post comments here have such incredibly short and selective memories about Mangino? Yes, the stars aligned one season. And it was a glorious year. But we got no apparent recruiting bounce from our Orange Bowl triumph, the program appeared to have peaked and was declining fast, his mistreatment of players was practically psychotic (if all of the allegations are to be believed), and he was an embarrassment to the University in a lot of ways, in my opinion.

Tony Lupton 7 years ago

Talks of Jim going to Michigan; Salary for Jim will be about $10+Million annually for about 5-6 years. KU was paying Charlie about 2.5 million/year, and new current-coach, about $275K.

KU is not about to pay out more for a coach in one year ($10Mil), than it's paid for any previous coach(s) in last 9 years combined.

If Jim is at college level next year, it will be in Ann Arbor. Although brother John, seems to be a little bit more of a sane person, and would probably do it for about $8+ million for a 3 to 4 year contract.

KU might be interested in Brady Hoke for that matter...(?)

Lucas Town 7 years ago

Hoke? That's all we need, someone who with all the resources in the world got embarrassed by Snyder and K-State in their bowl game.

I agree with you about Jim and Michigan if they were to need a head coach and he needed a job.

Bill Kackley 7 years ago

Matt, trivia question for you. Who was the last Jayhawk to be starting QB (football), starting forward (basketball), and starting pitcher (baseball) in the same season?

Joe Ross 7 years ago

My guess is Hadl, though Im not sure he was a pitcher.\

Bob Bailey 7 years ago

Why is it that no one ever realizes Bowen's short comings? First he does not have the resources on the staff to make much improvement this year. Second he has not attained the reputation of being a good DC.

Warriner is the only one I recognize and he would have to come from a top 5 staff. Pay him, and get him!

Aaron Paisley 7 years ago

One of the conversations Zenger has to have with Bowen in regards to Bowen being the permanent HC is the changes to the coaching staff he would make and who Bowen would bring in to replace the coaches he wouldn't keep around.

If I'm Clint Bowen, I'm spending part of my Sundays making phone calls to see who would be interested in potentially joining his staff if he gets the job full time.

John Fitzgerald 7 years ago

I'd go for Beaty as an assistant HC and OC. Bowen will 100% need help with recruiting. Also what concerns me about Bowen is he stated he hadn't paid much attention to the offense. He's being honest, but if I'm a DC looking to possibly be a HC I'm going to look at the offense a lot so I can speak with intelligence when the opportunity comes up. A lot of season left so we'll see what happens from here on out.

Micky Baker 7 years ago

He didn't, and he probably shouldn't have. He had no control over it until the day he was given the interim head coaching job.

Brian Skelly 7 years ago

Why do this? Jim Harbaugh is NOT going to be the head coach at KU. Likely ever. And promoting that as even the slightest of possibilities strikes me as folly. Yea, I get its something to talk about and post about -- im doing it. The odds of his becoming the next head coach at KU are only slightly higher than mine. Which is none. "So your saying there's a chance?" Get this outta your heads people. I think Matt's list of potential candidates isnt unrealistic. Let's stick to that, or even expand it. Harbaugh aint walking through that door though.

Matt Tait 7 years ago

I think that's very well put, Brian. No reason to get your hopes up for the home run hire when a guy like Beaty or even Bowen could do just fine.

I only acknowledged the Harbaugh talk because the NFL analysts are running wild with it and it's my job to follow that and cover it. As I said in the blog, I think Harbaugh could — COULD — still be a candidate down the road. But he's not the end-all-be-all of names and, at this point at least, he's still a long shot.

Thanks for checking out the blog. This search should be pretty entertaining. Have a great day!

Chris Bailey 7 years ago

We have no idea how Bowen or Beaty will do have they ever been a head coach? I can't stomach much more of this subpar football. I am so tired of hearing from the KState fan's about our pee poor program. We need to hire the right guy. Not terrible pretty girl. Or the shiny new toy.

kellerman411 7 years ago

I think you're being just a tad bit dismissive of the idea. Jim is a little bit crazy. I give it 5% at least.

Fred Davis 7 years ago

These damn Internet Message Boards and Comment sections will get you every time...

Jim Harbaugh isn't coming to Kansas, and while I appreciate your work for the LJWorld Matt, this article is about as silly as the idea of Harbaugh coming to Kansas... First off, has there ever been any concrete reporting done validating the idea that Harbaugh was 'thiiis' close to coming to Kansas.....? I remember seeing a picture of him wearing a KU shirt and his wife is from KC... Other than those two items, what has ever been written - that was fact - that Harbaugh ever considered coming to Kansas?


And if by some iota of a chance that Harbaugh DID decide he wants to come to Kansas - as KGB famously said - Pay that man his money.

But let's get back to Planet Earth where a moribund football program like Kansas has to live in the real world and we don't have the option of editing all of our players to 99s and becoming relevant overnight like we're playing Dynasty Mode. While you suggest Matt that this coaching search hasn't begun, I'd be very disappointed if behind the scenes it hasn't.

With all due respect to Clint Bowen, he's not going to be the next head coach at KU either. He's been on this staff forever - great! He bleeds crimson and blue - Awesome! He's worked hard to get where he's at - Outstanding! Outside of success with Mangino, who has he learned from that's been worth a bleep and if he was marginally successful, why hasn't he been plucked by other major schools....?

I don't have a problem with him staying on the staff, but not as the head coach. I want a coach who's been with a major program, knows offense, can recruit and is young enough not to really know what the hell he's gotten himself into - but has had experience turning programs around.. Which is why I will advocate for Rhett Lashlee from Auburn... He's a Malzahn protege, dude can coach up some offense, he's young, and he's been at two places - Arkansas State and Auburn - where they've come in and cleaned things up. Rhett Lashlee Boys and Girls. Google him.

Rock Chalk

Jack Jones 7 years ago

"Jim Harbaugh isn't coming to Kansas" ~ Couldn't agree any more with your assessment, Fred ~ including your comment about Matt's "silly article". Sure, his job is to cover the coaching search, just keep it realistic. The idea of a Jim Harbaugh being even faintly interested in moving from the NFL to Kansas is sheer fantasy. Journalism of all types, none more so than sports, has become prone to the hype associated with the internet, and social media in particular. And, the reader is the worse for it.

Matt Tait 7 years ago

You guys are forgetting that I didn't start the conversation in the first place. That would be the NFL analysts and I have an obligation to provide some insight into what those may or may not mean. That's all.

Thanks for checking it out and brace yourselves for more reaction, insight and analysis of rumors and wild names. Such is the way coaching searches go...

Philip Bowman 7 years ago

This must be a joke. Why? Because I laughed my head off. There is no chance whatever that Harbaugh would even think about, let alone talk about it. KU would need to get rid of the chancellor, the one that consented to the backstabbing of Mangino. She would find Coach Jim's coaching style to be too tough for players at KU. Then it would need to go to all the fat cats to buy Harbaugh. I doubt there is enough money in all their pockets to compete with the other NFL teams that will be shopping of a coach, including the 49ers. Besides there are the problems of the weather, culture and geography . If you haven't been to SF, try it in December/January and July/August and ask yourself where you'd rather be. Yes, Lawrence has Mount Oread but that's the best if can offer. Have you ever seen SF Bay and the city?

This must be the silliest column of all time; unless it was a joke. Tait should have written this on April 1st.

Matt Tait 7 years ago

If you read this as me saying Harbaugh should be the guy or is the guy, you might read it again. It actually says the exact opposite and spells out the reasons why I don't think he will be.

Thanks for checking it out, though, and for taking the time to comment. Always appreciated.

Tad Shurtz 7 years ago

First off, I don't think there's any way we wind up with Jim Harbaugh. I just won't do that to myself.

But all due respect, Matt, if he WERE to want the KU job, all the potential issues you list are just not … issues. He'd be a Shaq O'Neal-backboard-breaking slam dunk of hire.

Matt Tait 7 years ago

I think you'd be surprised about what may and may not be an issue surrounding this hire. KU is in no position to pay $5 million plus to the next coach.

For one, that's a ton of dough and they'd have to give Self a raise, too.

For two, let's say they hire Harbaugh for $5 million for 5 years. That's $25 million right? If they hired a guy like Beaty instead for $1.5 million for $5 that $17-$18 million difference could go toward the stadium renovation, which is still a HUGE priority.

That could all change in time (these things often do) but I don't think you can underestimate the importance of $$$ in this hire.

Thanks for your comments. Have a great day!

Chris Bailey 7 years ago

Yeah i don't get why 5 million is so MUCH. I mean we got 5 yrs out of Weis and Gill combined and paid them around 22.5 million over 5 years. That tells me we can afford it. Also, we pay Self 5 million. And why would he need a raise? He's already top 3 highest in basketball. That said maybe Harbough comes for 3.5 million or something. Guessing the stress is a whole lot less in college than the NFL.

kellerman411 7 years ago

Like another commenter already said, the average of 14,000 empty seats in that stadium being filled, would easily pay the difference. If Jim Harbaugh came to KU, that stadium WOULD BE FULL.

Erich Hartmann 7 years ago

Matt, but if Zenger dangles a big enough 'carrot' in front of the really big$$$donors, they'd jump like rabbits at the promise of football relevancy, especially one that is proven like Harbaugh (unlike Weis). They'd pony up the dough.

And if Harbaugh really does have an 'ego', then what does it look like when a coach tucks his tail and leaves the NFL to go "down to the college level"?

Erich Hartmann 7 years ago

Let's talk about the reason this story & rumors exist: It brings a desperate program a fantasy dream of instant credibility, and instant relevancy. In one fell swoop, 4- and 5-star kids would want to come to KU from midwest as well as west coast to play for a big-time name that won as a player (Chicago, Indianapolis), as a college coach (Stanford), and in the NFL (49ers). We could compete in a year or two maybe with anybody?

But I doubt Harbaugh would come. Mostly because KU just isnt a big enough blip on his radar. Unless, of course, he wants to seek out a totally new challenge...kind of the same thing that will get Bill Self to move on: new professional challenge (NBA), despite Self's $52mil, 10yr deal that Zenger inked him to last year.

Brett Glover 7 years ago

This is the dumbest filler article I have ever read. All I'm going to say.

Brad Sherp 7 years ago

I have reason to believe that Harbaugh actually wants the job.

I think that the AD owes it to us as fans to make the call. Even if it is a tremendous waste of time, the call should be made.

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