What would the world be like if the Kansas Jayhawks were running over teams the way the Michigan Wolverines are? Well, it almost happened. Jim Harbaugh was very close to signing with on with Kansas to become their next football coach in 2009.
As strange as it may seem now, Harbaugh to Kansas wouldn’t have been jarring to sports fans at the end of the first decade of the new millennia. Harbaugh was still in the process of rebuilding the program at Stanford and wasn’t rockstar coach that he is now. K
ansas had just fired their head coach after another disappointing year under coach Mark Mangino and liked their chances at landing Harbaugh. Why? Home-field advantage.
Harbaugh’s wife, Sarah, is from a town only a 30 mile drive from the campus. The couple is extremely close to that side of the family and even considered naming one of their children after Harbaugh’s father-in-law, Merle.
Then-Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins gave him a tour of the facilities and said it was “very, very close.”
Ultimately, though, everyone knew that Harbaugh wanted to coach in the NFL. He would eventually do just that, coaching the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance. He would return to the college ranks after an acrimonious ending in San Francisco and spur a quick turnaround for the Michigan Wolverines program.
Harbaugh appears to have settled in at Michigan, but that’s what everybody thought about everywhere else he has gone. As of yet, Harbaugh is yet to stay longer than four years with any of his employers.
If Kansas remains patient, they might be able to lang Harbaugh after all.
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