Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jim Harbaugh Ready to Return the San Francisco 49ers Back to Their Glory Days

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For those of you who have followed the coaching career of Jim Harbaugh you will notice there is one thing that sticks out--Winning.

His first stop as the man in charge came prior to the 2004 college football season when he was hired at the University of San Diego. After a 7-4 start to his very first season with the Toreros, Harbaugh would lead USD to a 22-2 record over his final two years, winning the conference championship in each of those two years.

After the 2006 season, Harbaugh was offered the head coaching job at Stanford University. Though his first two seasons were rough, a combined 9-15 record, Stanford turned things around with an 8-5 record in 2009 and a 12-1 record in 2010. His final season finished with a lopsided 40-12 win over Virginia Tech in the 2011 Orange Bowl.

Jim Harbaugh Jim Harbaugh speaks at a press conference where he was introduced as the new San Francisco 49ers head coach at the Palace Hotel on January 7, 2011 in San Francisco, California.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
During this past off season, with the job at Harbaugh alma mater, Michigan, being open most thought he was a shoe-in to be the next head coach of the Wolverines. Surprisingly, he did the opposite, electing instead to remain in the Bay Area as the head coach at Stanford.

His decision to remain there prompted junior quarterback, and 2012 Heisman hopeful, Andrew Luck to also remain in school instead of declaring for the 2010 NFL Draft where he was almost assured of being the No. 1 pick overall.

Not long after Luck made his decision, Harbaugh was offered a job he couldn't turn down. So he took a chance and became the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

A team steep in tradition and a franchise who has had names like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Roger Craig, Ronnie Lott and so many others don the uniform, had lost their way and had lost the ability to be the team everyone respected.

Mike Singletary tried to bring it back to the bay area but failed miserably.

Harbaugh has won at each level of his coaching career. From the University of San Diego of the Pioneer League to the Stanford Cardinal of the now PAC-12. He has found a way to bring in the right players who mesh together perfectly to make an unstoppable team.

He brings out the best in his players like USD quarterback Joe Johnson or Stanford quarterback, Andrew Luck. These two players became stars at their respective schools as well as in their own conference.

So it's only fitting to bring in a coach who knows how to do all of those things. Say what you want about college coaches failing and it's a legitimate argument. Steve Spurrier, now at South Carolina, and Nick Saban, now at Alabama, have both tried their luck at becoming successful NFL coaches.

Both failed.

Harbaugh has a chance to prove that exact theory wrong. He gets a chance to prove that it has everything to do with the coach and not where he came from.

He has a young team and he will have the ability to shape them just the way he needs them to be. When or if the NFL lockout comes to an end, he will have young quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick to lead his offense into the future.

While Smith's status is uncertain as he will become an unrestricted free agent once the lockout is lifted, he told he's very secure in the fact he will be back with the team in 2011.

"For the feeling I got from Harbaugh, the offensive coaching staff, from every time I've been in there, from before the lockout, from when the lockout ended that day and a half. But I have such a good feeling. I feel they've been up front about everything they've told me."

Smith is so secure, in fact, he's been leading the 49ers in throwing sessions during this off season.

He may not be the future for this team, especially with a young quarterback out of Nevada (Kaepernick) seemingly ready to take the reigns, I wouldn't expect Smith to let them go without a fight.

The new head coach of the 49ers has a lot of work to do before this season gets underway, if we have one at all. But give him a few years and watch this young head coach return the 49ers to their days of glory.

Jim Harbaugh has won everywhere else, why not here?

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