Last night and this morning I reached out to sources in the profession to attempt to understand where Michigan is with their search. The consolidated answer, from the sources I checked with, continues to be confusion.
Per sources, in the past two days Michigan has again reached out to both NFL and college coaches to gauge their interest in the position.
Some at Michigan believe that Jim Harbaugh is a viable option and are pushing Jim Hackett to wait until the NFL season is over to formally approach Harbaugh. On that end, we understand that Harbaugh’s most recent response to Michigan was along the lines of, “I’m currently under contract and can’t discuss anything until the season is over.” We understand that other NFL coaches have been discussed among the Michigan administration as well. If Michigan were to wait until January to chase Harbaugh only to see him ultimately remain in the NFL (which our sources believe he will), this prolonged search could have significant impact on the Wolverines’ ability to secure a top class in early February.
In the college ranks, per sources, Michigan did reach out to Tennessee’s administration to request approval to speak with Butch Jones. I reiterate what we have told you all along, sources have told us and continue to tell us that Butch is very happy at Tennessee and will not entertain the Michigan job. Michigan has checked sources regarding Boston College head coach Steve Addazio and there are some we have spoken with who believe Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham, who we understand has been approached by Michigan in the past, could become a target of this search. Based on our checks, we are quite certain they have looked into several other coaches as well.
Insert> Since we wrote this, Jimmy Hyams has reported that Butch Jones will sign an extension at Tennessee. Butch is very happy.
Source: Butch Jones isn’t going to Michigan, despite overtures. He will sign a new contract within a week at UT. Raise will exceed $250,000.
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) December 5, 2014
Some in the profession have asked us at FootballScoop if Gary Pinkel is or should be a candidate. Gary is a very good football coach, who is very happy with his lifestyle at Missouri. Gary has rebuffed Michigan in the past and I don’t see that changing now.
Gil Brandt offered today that he hears Michigan is high on Greg Schiano, an assumed, logical option all along. Greg wants to get back in and perhaps this will be his opportunity. A week or so ago we reached out to source close to Greg, who offered, with respect to the Michigan opening, “If they didn’t like Rich, it might not be a great fit with Greg. He has a lot of the same mannerisms Rich does.”
We understand that Colin Cowherd went big on the radio yesterday stating that Michigan would make a “huge, splash” hire this weekend. Cowherd said the hire is someone completely off the radar, that no one has mentioned at all. Maybe, Cowherd is correct; however the sources we have spoken with say the administration at Michigan continues to seem to be looking in many directions.
In our opinion it is far more important to get it right than to move too quickly. With the recruiting window closing in about a week, Michigan is likely to largely miss any opportunity for a new staff to communicate with nearly any recruits already. Thus, if they don’t have their guy now, they should take their time until they believe they have found the next great leader of Michigan football. Assuming they do not hire a new head coach before the recruiting window closes at the end of next week, the new Michigan staff will have a few weeks in January and days in February to evaluate their current roster and then pull together the 2015 class.
As always, we’ll keep you posted on The Scoop.