As Michigan and Jim Harbaugh move toward a likely parting, they could find his successor in the Big 12.
The Michigan Wolverines dropped to 1-3 on the season with a blowout loss to Wisconsin last Saturday. The heat on head coach Jim Harbaugh is at fever pitch, as his contract expires after the 2021 season and talk about an extension has apparently been tabled for now.
Harbaugh could head back to the NFL, where there will be options for him (New York Jets, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, among others.). A mutual parting of ways with his alma mater might be best for both sides.
If Michigan and Harbaugh do split after the season, who might be the next Wolverines’ coach?
On Monday’s episode of ESPN’s CFB Podcast with Herbie, Pollack and Neghandi, Kevin Neghandi offered Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell and Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell as two top options to replace Harbaugh at Michigan.
David Pollack made his preference clear.
“I like what you said, and I like the first name,” “And it’s nothing against Luke Fickell and his name, but I want a coach that’s proven to do more with less, OK? And I say that it’s important because guess what? Michigan’s not going to have better players than Ohio State.
“So I would just love to have somebody that’s proven, to go to a spot like Iowa State and create a tradition, create a culture and create wins every year. Like, if we’re expected with our talent to win seven, we win nine. So I think he’s the name that should be first, second and third on the list for me.”
Would Matt Campbell leave for Michigan?
Campbell is in his fifth season at Iowa State, with a 5-2 record this year and an overall record of 31-27. The Cyclones were 3-9 in his first season, and they’re 28-18 since. Prior to that Campbell was the head coach at Toledo, with a 35-15 record over four-plus seasons. He has three conference Coach of the Year awards on his resume (2015 MAC Coach of the Year, Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2018), with a .611 combined winning percentage.
There’s a chance Campbell resurfaces as a candidate for NFL head coaching jobs after the season, but a more logical next step might be to a higher profile college job. Michigan fits that bill, and Campbell has no ties to the Wolverines’ chief rival. The fit looks solid, provided Campbell wants to leave Iowa State.