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Dec 04, 2014 03:24 PM EST

Michigan Football Coaching Candidates: 5 Coaches That Could Take Over Wolverines


One quick Internet search for "Jim Harbaugh" is enough to understand why he is a prime candidate to take over the recently vacated Michigan head football coach position.

He played quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines and has experienced a lot of success both in college and in the NFL. But Michigan may not even be able to lure him from the San Francisco 49ers and will have to consider other candidates.

According to Sports Illustrated, Jim Hackett, Michigan's interim athletic director, made it abundantly clear that the search committee will not be seeking a so-called "Michigan Man."

Here are five strong contenders for Michigan to consider:

1.     Harbaugh is a renowned motivator and team builder, which some experts believe is best suited for a college job, especially at Michigan given the team's current state. Michigan may be one of the most coveted jobs in college football, but he has at least one other option should he want to leave his current employer and stay in the Bay Area.

2.     Les Miles may be gainfully employed at LSU, but he has been rumored to be a leading candidate for the Michigan job as soon as it became available. His LSU teams are typically known for being tough defensively and he too has a history with Michigan.

USA Today's Mark Snyder noted that Miles would also have to recruit against Michigan State in a state where the talent pool is not as deep as it in SEC country.

3.     Mike Gundy may not be getting the same airtime as a potential candidate as Miles or Harbaugh, but he has some desirable traits. Miles' protégé is a big name who has experienced success in college, for one, and he has experience recruiting the Midwest. Mike Herndon noted for that Gundy has considered leaving Oklahoma State before, so maybe the Michigan job is the one he has been waiting for.

4.     Greg Schiano was successful at Rutgers, but not with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Snyder opined that Schiano is a proven team builder with a good academic track record and he had a full year off to "refresh," but Michigan would have to overlook his brief NFL stint in Tampa.

5.     Bo Pelini may be a dark horse, but he still is not getting as much attention as he should. He was Miles' defensive coordinator at LSU before going on to coach Nebraska, where he went 67-27 including four bowl game wins. Whereas some say Miles might be not want to relocate at the age of 61, Pelini is 48 and has a lot of the same coaching qualities.

The one obvious roadblock may be Pelini's alma mater, Ohio State.

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