Leading Off

Leading Off: If Harbaugh leaves, where will he go?

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh calls out from the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh calls out from the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014. The Associated Press

The writing on the wall outside Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara is becoming increasingly larger and easier to read this football season.

Regardless if the 49ers run the table and win that elusive sixth Super Bowl or fail to make the playoffs, it appears Jim Harbaugh will pack his bag of inspirational locker room speeches and rah-rah coaching style and head for his next post, where he’ll turn a loser into a winner practically overnight.

Not even Sunday’s dramatic overtime victory over the Saints in New Orleans likely will change things.

And there will be plenty of offers for his services.

Michigan, Harbaugh’s alma mater, likely will be the most aggressive. The Wolverines had interest in 2011 before Harbaugh joined the 49ers.

The Wolverines hired Brady Hoke, who took Michigan to the Sugar Bowl in his first season. It’s been downhill since with the athletic director stepping down and Hoke unlikely to return.

Michigan alums would love to have one of their own fix the mess. But if Harbaugh wants to continue his sibling rivalry with his brother, John, the Baltimore Ravens’ coach, he’ll stay in the NFL.

The winless Raiders would love a quick-fix coach who would make the Silver and Black relevant again.

The Cowboys are one of this year’s most improved teams, but Dallas hasn’t played in an NFC title game since 1995 and Harbaugh has taken his 49ers to three consecutive NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl.

And if Harbaugh left, who would coach the 49ers?

– Victor Contreras

vcontreras@sacbee.com


Today’s poll


Weekend poll results

Can the Kings make the playoffs this season?

▪ Yes, if they continue to play as a team: 60%

▪ It’s far too early to say: 36%

▪ No, they don’t have enough talent: 4%

Total votes: 87


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