When Trent Baalke was hired as the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers earlier in the week, he established a goal of having his new head coach in place by today.
Baalke met his goal as the 49ers introduced Jim Harbaugh as the 18th head coach in franchise history this afternoon. Harbaugh chose the Niners over remaining at Stanford University, which he guided to a victory in the Orange Bowl this week.
Harbaugh will reportedly receive $25 million over five years from the Niners, but Harbaugh doesn’t have the quarterback – Andrew Luck – that he had in Palo Alto, Calif., and certainly finding one will become a top order of business for him. It will be interesting to see if the organization undergoes any changes at the top. Ownership has come under frequent criticism in recent years and management has been plagued with problems. Whether or not Baalke and or Harbaugh can see to a restructuring of sorts remains to be seen.
Harbaugh was hastily pursued by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross in a bizarre situation considering his team still had Tony Sparano in place as its head coach. While rumors floated that the Dolphins were offering Harbaugh $7 million to $8 million to become their coach, one source with direct knowledge of the situation said that Miami never offered a contract to Harbaugh. The “bidding” was driven by rumors and propaganda, and Ross had become “intoxicated” with the idea of Harbaugh according to the source after Stanford had spent a week in Miami preparing for the Orange Bowl.
Per the source, while general manager Jeff Ireland attended the meeting in California that was led by Ross, Ireland remained behind Sparano. Now, whether or not the Dolphins can patch up the fine mess they have on their hands now remains to be seen. The team had a press conference scheduled for this afternoon to reaffirm Sparano’s position as the head coach. That press conference was canceled.
Harbaugh is expected to begin forming his coaching staff immediately. That process could involve considering some of the assistants from the previous Mike Singletary regime.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune
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