There is a very good young coach out in Northern California. His name is Harbaugh.
Oh no you say, Harbaugh is the coach in Balitmore. There is a Harbaugh who is head coach of the Ravens. Holy cow! They’re brothers.
Jim Harbaugh is a unique talent. He was a record-setting Quarterback for Michigan and then went on to play quarterback for several teams. His time with the Steelers seems to stick out in my mind. He also was a long term Colt. He never was quite brilliant but he was an excellent backup and occasional starter everywhere he played. He lasted longer than most and left at the right time. He has taken an awful Stanford team and (in my opinion) made them the biggest surprise in college football. They beat Notre Dame to rap up an amazing season. They play in the Pac-Ten and the Cardinal played like their coach’s personality. They scored a lot of points and were adequate on defense. They were brash, arrogant and afraid of no one. This is a unique man. He understands the game as only an ex-quarterback can and he ignites his players. I know it’s college, which is obviously a lot different than the pros (Pete Carroll et al). But he’s someone to keep an eye on. Imagine two brothers as opposing head coaches. Imagine an offensive minded guy who is smart and has actually played the game. No, I don’t think Harbaugh wants or is ready for a pro career right now but he is my rising star to watch. I think he eventually will tackle the N.F.L and he just might be great. Stay tuned!
Just kidding about Charlie Weis. I thought he would be a good coach at his alma mater (Notre Dame) and so did they. Talk about a colossal boo boo. Weis started out well enough but then just imploded. He had impeccable credentials and he was the offensive mastermind of the Superbowl New England Patriots. I am more than surprised at what happened at Notre Dame and it has been painful watching a man beaten into the ground. I hope some day we will learn what happened to Weis. There are coaches who can’t coach in the pros but are excellent in college (Petrino, Carroll). They just can’t handle the different attitudes and the business of the pro game. There are others who can’t seem to coach in college but are dynamite with the pros. Weis is just the most recent example. Some folks like Lou Holtz can’t seem to coach anywhere. O.K. Holtz’s teams at N.C State did well. Steve Spurrier was legendary at Florida, laid a bomb in Washington and has done a pretty good job at a South Carolina program that was a mess. They seem to be ready to contend. Rick Neuheisel was a very good college coach who made a mistake and did a good job as an offensive coordinator in the N.F.L. He is back at U.C.L.A. Oh yeah, Holtz had his best years at the aforementioned South Carolina.
No, I don’t think that Weis will return to the pro game as he has a very fat, guaranteed contract with the Irish and I think Charlie is forever damaged. I am writing this to make a point- there are a number of excellent minds out there who need a certain environment. Dave Wannstedt was a bust as a head coach in the pros but has done a pretty decent job at Pittsburgh (the Panthers). The immortal Bill Walsh got his reputation in College, then the Bengals and then he made the 49ers a dynasty. Barry Switzer was a hero in Oklahoma and a bust with the boys. The point is that the door swings both ways. There is someone out there that can make the Giants work. Who would have thought that Ken Whisenhunt, a Georgia Tech boy would, could do what he has done in AZ?! Russ Grimm is a constant name mentioned when a vacancy opens. Is he the next “unknown?” He seems to be doing one hell of a job with the Cardinals. I am not in the loop as I once was, so almost everything is now conjecture. I think the Giants made a monumental mistake with Spags but I also believe there is another who is ready. It’s their job to find him. Caldwell in Baltimore did a great job at Wake Forest and his talent was recognized by Tony Dungy and the Colts organization. The rookie head coach is undefeated after 11 games.