For some reason, news broke Friday that Michigan had hired a search firm to assist in the process of hiring a new football coach.
Korn Ferry, a consulting firm out of California which has a Michigan alum high in its ranks — one who, apparently, assisted in the last two major Michigan searches, which brought in Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke — will be paid between $80,000 and $250,000 to help the Wolverines find the guy who will resurrect the program.
That this news came out Friday is odd, because it’s not new news that Michigan was using a search firm — interim athletic director Jim Hackett said he would in a press conference after Hoke was fired. It’s also odd because why is Michigan using a search firm?
I get it, search firms can reach out to prospective candidates behind the scenes and measure their interest without the university getting directly involved, and they can help run background checks and all that fun stuff. Hackett also has zero athletic department experience, so he probably wants help, and $250,000 isn’t much, in the grand scheme of things, for Michigan’s athletic department.
But Michigan, with its giant alumni base that stretches all across the world and has tentacles in every facet of everything, shouldn’t have trouble finding people to do these things for free. More than the money, it would also save Michigan the embarrassment of hiring a search firm to find a guy that will likely be incredibly high profile. Most smart people I follow in college sports made it clear Friday afternoon that the idea of a search firm to assist in finding a football coach for a high-profile institution like Michigan is simply a waste of money.
And of course, there’s the giant elephant in the room in this discussion, which just so happens to be wearing a pair of khakis and a sweatshirt: Jim Harbaugh. He is the candidate. Like, the only one. Michigan’s coaching search begins right there, and judging by the way Michigan fans are reacting to this whole thing, if it doesn’t end right there, people aren’t going to take it very well.
So rather than paying someone up to $250,000 to Google “Jim Harbaugh” and send a link to his Wikipedia page to Hackett, I have some better ideas of what Michigan can do with that cash to help lure Harbaugh in.
•Find a nice home in the Ann Arbor Area, use $200,000 to make a down payment on it and the other $50,000 to commission an artist to paint the most lifelike mural of the Golden Gate Bridge on one of the windows. If it’s true that a major stumbling block is pulling Harbaugh’s wife away from the Bay Area, why not make her believe that she’s still there?
•Hire the people who make those lifelike wax statues to make one of Harbaugh, put a Raiders hat on it and leave it on the steps of the Raiders’ facility (preferably propped up, but it probably doesn’t matter). There is zero chance that the organization won’t think it’s actually Harbaugh, and after they have their press conference announcing wax statue Harbaugh as their new coach, that would eliminate one possible NFL destination for him, increasing Michigan’s chances.
•Pay a moving company to show up at Harbaugh’s house Sunday night, pack his stuff and move him to Ann Arbor. If Harbaugh really doesn’t know what he’s going to do next year, then play off the emotions he’s sure to be feeling this weekend after the Seahawks absolutely demolish the 49ers. When he sees the Block Ms on the sides of those Uhaul trucks, he’s going to get nostalgic. Maybe paint Colin Kaepernick’s quarterback rating on another, too, just to be sure.
•Tell Harbaugh he can use it to hire any position coach he would like. No, really. This is probably at least your second-best option. The Raiders one being the best.
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.