Jim Harbaugh, the most coveted coach on the market, is leaving Stanford for the San Francisco 49ers.
AP‘s Janie McCauley:
A person with knowledge of the situation says Jim Harbaugh is leaving Stanford to coach the San Francisco 49ers.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Friday because the team has yet to announce the hire.
The team has scheduled an afternoon news conference in San Francisco.
Harbaugh, who will replace fired coach Mike Singletary, also had been considering an offer from Stanford to stay put.
Jim Harbaugh agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract to become the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Friday, according to team and league sources.
The 49ers announced a news conference scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, but did not indicate the reason.
Earlier Friday, a source told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that Stanford was the favorite to retain Harbaugh’s services.
On Thursday, Harbaugh met with top Stanford officials — including university president John Hennessey — so that the school could make its best offer to try to retain him. The university reportedly increased an offer it had made to Harbaugh in December.
The 49ers met with Harbaugh Wednesday, and a source said that on Thursday night, after news broke that Harbaugh would not go to the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco was willing to increase its offer.
This makes great sense. While he’s a Michigan grad whose best days as a pro were with the Chicago Bears, Harbaugh’s a California guy.
The Stanford job is a much better one than the newly vacant Michigan one. Sure, it’s his alma mater and it’s one of the storied programs in the history of college football. And it would pay more. But the expectations are unreasonable and he’d have to uproot his family. Stanford is already a top program. If he wanted to stay in college, Stanford was the obvious choice.
And, yes, $7 million or whatever from the Miami Dolphins would have been a sweet deal. But that would have engendered all manner of animosity from other coaches, fuming that a first-timer was making all that money. And expectations would have been through the roof. The fact that they were openly courting him while Tony Sparano is still the coach didn’t help matters.
He can take over the 49ers, a franchise with a proud history of its own, without moving to a new house. His kids can stay in the same school. And, while $5 million isn’t $7 million, it’s not exactly chopped liver.
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