Jim Harbaugh's family could be key for Michigan decision

Michigan may prove too enticing for Jim Harbaugh and his family (©GettyImages)

Everyone wants to relive their college days.

Everyone, that is, except for San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who is reportedly mulling over a difficult decision to return to the college football game that launched his head coaching career.

There is no doubt that Michigan, his alma mater, are interested in their former starting college quarterback returning as the coach to save their program. No one is sure how much the Wolverines are offering, but NFL.com's Ian Rapoport and CBS 5's Joe Pequeno have reported it to be as high as $8 million per year over six seasons.

That total would even surpass the compensation of college football's most vaunted coach, Nick Saban, at Alabama.

But Harbaugh is still torn, craving success on the professional level. And now his family is getting their word in.

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Friends, family supportive of move

There is plenty of familial push for a move back home, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Harbaugh's father, Jack, is said to be an admirer of Michigan athletic director Jim Hackett. And Jim Harbaugh's wife is also saying that she would be open to a move back to Ann Arbor, according to the report. 

Finally, Harbaugh is well-liked by Michigan fans, having had success on the college and pro levels as a quarterback. There's no doubting his coaching credentials either: After making Stanford a college powerhouse, he turned the perennially underachieving 49ers into a Super Bowl threat. They appeared in the championship two years ago and have been in the NFC Championship game each of the last three years.

Not a gimme

But that last part might be the biggest reason for Harbaugh to stay. Jim and his brother John Harbaugh are famous for their sibling rivalry and intense competitiveness. 

Jim came so close to reaching the pinnacle, bringing his San Francisco team into the Super Bowl Championship game in 2012. But John won that matchup with his Baltimore Ravens, which could only have made Jim want it more.

Also, if Jim leaves now it will look a little bit like retreating. After all, this will be his first year without a winning season in the pros. The 49ers are 7-8 with one game left to play.

For someone with as much success and drive as Harbaugh, the thought of walking away without victory would probably be debilitating. Yet if the Wolverines are offering godfather money and his family approves, it might make more sense to pack up the bags and head north.

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