After days of speculation bordering on absurdity, Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh is out of the Pac-10 and into the NFC West. A short time after Andrew Luck announced he was staying on The Farm, opting to forgo the NFL Draft, word broke that Harbaugh was headed to the San Francisco 49ers. Harbaugh has been in high demand after guiding the Cardinal to a 12-1 record in 2010, including a dominating 40-12 win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.
Stephen Ross, owner of the Dolphins, made a late push for Harbaugh's services following the Orange Bowl in Miami, reportedly offering money that would place Harbaugh among the upper-echelon of NFL head coaches. After Harbaugh apparently turned that job down, it came down to the Stanford Cardinal and San Francisco 49ers on Friday.
ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news on Twitter, reporting the 49ers and Harbaugh had agreed to a five-year deal.
Filed to ESPN: Jim Harbaugh is expected to agree to a five-year contract with the 49ers.
It's the second time in less than a year that an NFC West team has reached into the Pac-10 to fill a head coaching position. The Seattle Seahawks nabbed former USC Trojans head man Pete Carroll following the 2009 season, and Carroll guided the Hawks to a 7-9 record and NFC West crown. The Niners, with the hottest commodity in coaching right now, are looking to capture the same magic.
This week became a mixed bag for the Cardinal as they kept Luck, their talented signal-caller, but lost their head coach. Harbaugh's exit is far from unexpected, as Michigan, the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins had all been vying for his services following the end of the Cardinal's season.