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5 Coaches Who Could Replace Jim Harbaugh At Michigan

Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh coaching against Illinois.

CHAMPAIGN, IL - OCTOBER 12: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines is seen during the second half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 12, 2019 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Earlier today, Football Scoop reported that Jim Harbaugh is "eyeing an exit strategy" from Michigan. According to the report, Harbaugh's representatives are trying to get their client back in the NFL.

At 5-2 on the season, the Wolverines seem destined for another eight or nine-win regular season. That's not too shabby, but it also isn't enough to claim an elusive Big Ten title.

Harbaugh's poor record in big games at Michigan is well-documented. Now in his fifth season at his alma mater, the former Wolverine quarterback just can't get his program over the proverbial hump.

Despite all this, Harbaugh will likely generate significant interest if he really wants to return to the NFL. His stint with the San Francisco 49ers was unquestionably successful, and he remains a household name.

But if Harbaugh moves on--and let's be clear here, it would be his choice, Michigan isn't firing him--who takes over the Maize and Blue? Would Michigan look outside of its circle to hire its next head coach, even if he weren't a "Michigan Man?"

We took a look at five names who could be a fit in Ann Arbor, starting with...

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell

Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell reacting during a game.

(Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

Without question, Campbell is one of the rising stars in coaching. He reportedly drew NFL interest this offseason after back-to-back eight-win seasons at Iowa State. The Cyclones are 5-2 this season, and Campbell has won 62% of his games at ISU and Toledo. A Massillon, Ohio native with plenty of Midwestern coaching experience, the 39-year-old Campbell has an offensive coaching background as well, which is music to Michigan fans' ears.

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck

Fleck turned Western Michigan from a one-win program to a 13-1 Cotton Bowl participant in three years. Since taking over at Minnesota, he's improved the Golden Gophers from five wins in 2017 to seven last year and now a 7-0 start in 2019. A dynamic recruiter and energetic salesman, it seems like a matter of time before Fleck takes his career to a higher level. Michigan would give him the opportunity to do just that.

Baylor head coach Matt Rhule

Baylor football coach Matt Rhule.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Rhule has won at Temple and pulled Baylor out of the abyss and public scandal/embarrassment of the Art Briles era. He's had a combined seven players drafted by the NFL during his time at both schools. Right now, the Bears are 7-0 and in the thick of the Big 12 title hunt. Rhule played college football at Penn State and is well-respected recruiter. His name will be linked to almost any major Power 5 opening this offseason.

Stanford head coach David Shaw

Replacing Harbaugh worked for Shaw once before. His team is currently 3-4 and struggling through a rare down year, but Shaw's resume at Stanford speaks for itself: five seasons of double-digit victories, four Pac-12 Coach of the Year awards, three conference titles and three Rose Bowl berths. Shaw has experience coaching at an institution that values academics and employs a physical, run-based offensive attack centered around offensive line play and fundamentals. Michigan fans will eat that up.

Former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops

Urban Meyer is not going to Michigan, but what about Stoops, who is also out of the college game? The longtime Oklahoma head coach is currently the coach and general manager of the XFL's Dallas Renegades. Stoops played and coached in the Big Ten at Iowa and is a native of Youngstown, Ohio. Under his tutelage, the Sooners were arguably the most consistent program in college football for nearly two decades. His name would also carry plenty of weight on the recruiting trail.