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Celebrity coaches and why they might want in at Michigan

Brady Hoke was fired Tuesday afternoon in a much-anticipated move. When did Hoke’s tenure go awry? As soon as Michigan hired him.

Hoke was an up-and-comer when he was hired away from San Diego State. He is exactly the kind of coach the university should avoid this time. The Wolverines have the tradition — and more importantly the cash — to lure someone with a proven track record coaching in a power conference.

It’s incumbent upon the Wolverines to get an established guy to go head-to-head with Ohio State’s Urban Meyer in recruiting. Meyer has celebrity status amongst recruits. It will take that kind of personality to lead the Wolverines if they hope to once again be considered a national-championship contender.

The following list of “celebrity coaches” have been linked to the job. Here’s why they might consider it:

1. Jim Harbaugh (San Francisco 49ers)—Money. Money. And? More money. Michigan is one of the very few universities that can outbid an NFL team. Harbaugh played quarterback at Michigan, finishing third in Heisman voting in 1986, which will aid him in recruiting.

Also, remember he built Stanford into a program that was a contender for the Pac-12 championship. Harbaugh coached at Standford from 2007-10. He recruited against Pete Carroll when he was at USC. So he knows he can do the same against another big name in Meyer.

2. Les Miles (LSU)—Leave one national championship contender for potentially another? That’s what the move, in essence, would mean for Miles who has previously been linked to the Michigan job.

So where might that be easier? The answer is Michigan. Why might Miles want this job? The Big Ten.

Competing in the nation’s toughest division, the SEC West, makes getting to the conference championship difficult—let alone the College Football Playoff. The East Division is the tougher division in the Big Ten—with Michigan State and Ohio State—but provides a much easier road than is currently in front of Miles.

3. Dan Mullen (Mississippi State)—Mississippi State football? Who mentioned them before this season? OK, it was Mullen who brought them to relevance this season along with quarterback Dak Prescott. So it’s understandable if Mullen thinks he can build the program into an SEC power.

But Michigan is always relevant—even in this bowl ineligible season. The Bulldogs? Not so much. The Wolverines get more press, the job pays more and Michigan can be turned back into a national championship contender within only a couple of years.

4. Greg Schiano (unemployed)—Why would he take this job? Uhhhh, because he doesn’t have one. Schiano’s experiment in the NFL failed. So after a year off, as he eyes a return to coaching, he has to be looking to the college ranks.

Schiano built up the program at Rutgers. So why couldn’t he rebuild the program at Michigan? Do that and he’ll forever be engrained in Big Ten lore.

5. David Shaw (Stanford)—He is part of the Harbaugh coaching tree, serving as the Cardinal’s offensive coordinator from 2007-10 before being hired as coach at Stanford. At 42, Shaw represents the kind of staying power Michigan would want in its coach.

But why would Shaw want Michigan? The Wolverines have a much more rabid fan base than Stanford. The Cardinal competes for attention with the San Francisco Bay Area’s professional teams.

While Detroit is about an hour away from Ann Arbor, it can be argued that Michigan athletics, when ranked among the nation’s best, rule the area.


Twitter: @SethGruen