Have very many college coaches transitioned to become successful coaches at the NFL level on their first attempt? Pete Carroll wasn't successful with the Jets. The Eagles recently tried one (Chip Kelly) that failed. Wilkinson bombed with the Cardinals many years ago. Given the high profile of the New York media, I would think it would take a college coach with balls of steal to be successful in the New York market. This is why my preference would be a coach with prior NFL head coaching experience or a current assistant who has served under a successful NFL head coach.
In honor of Ernie Accorsi, Frank Kush sort of went from Arizona State to Baltimore Colts
when he got the Jets job, which was his first HC job at any level.
Bill Walsh went from Stanford to the 49ers, although he had been a longtime NFL assistant before taking over at Stanford. John Robinson had a pretty good run with the Rams after leaving USC, although he never won a title. Dick Vermeil went from UCLA to taking the Eagles to a Super Bowl.
Every guy is different. Blanket rules are foolish....unless it's "don't hire a Patriots assistant coach"
is a guy who was purely a college coach and jumped to the NFL and had some success turning the Pats into a perennial playoff team in the 70's. It ended very messily when he jumped back to college which is one of the problems with these guys, there will always be college jobs beckoning. Lou Holtz, Bobby Petrino and Nick Saban all bailed very quickly.
He's not leaving Michigan but he's the exception to the rule that college coaches can't make it in the NFL.
for 15 years. Then was an assistant for a couple of years before becoming a college coach.
He is a player's coach through and through.
He can nurture a QB to play with confidence.
Beyond that it takes a 49er fan in my estimation to evaluate how good he really is, because most NFL fans
His first year with SF, the team did make some good acquisitions in the draft and free agency. He inherited a defense that went from very good to elite immediately, and brought a top 5 DC with him to run it. Already had a well established power run O good to go with some new blocking schemes, and a few play makers. This is not something every coaching vacancy comes with.
That the previous head coaches sucked has some merit to the conversation but not totally.
The one issue with Harbaugh is that his mentality is still stuck in the '80s. He loves power run game and relying on defense to win games. Closet '80s NYG fan, or maybe his years with the Bears rubbed off, although in truth he idolized Bo Schembechler and wanted to copy him in the NFL.
It's hard to separate how "obsolete" his offense was with Smith and Kaepernick running it, because at times it was rather simplified with the passing concepts. I guess you could say the genius was maximizing their strengths while reducing their weaknesses at the cost of the offense being easier to defend at its core. Those Niner teams were beating people with talent not scheme. In 2014 especially, the Niners would essentially run the ball, play defense and wait long enough for Kap to make some big plays to score points. It's essentially the opposite of what is going on there now with Shanahan.
The question with SF fans: Did his offense suck or did his QBs hold it back?
Probably a little bit of both, but which one really?
So it's this simple IMO with Harbaugh:
His success is going to be predicated on his coordinators, and perhaps his flexibility in going to something a bit more modern.
Talent will always be important, but he's neither an offensive guru like McVay, Shanahan, nor a defensive savant like Carroll.
And you hope he gets those coordinators right because he is loyal to a fault. Greg Roman was not an OC worthy of a contending team, and opportunities to hire guys who were (like Kubiak, Shanahan, Norv Turner, etc) were ignored. That inability to change coordinators (unlike his brother who did it MID season) is IMO the reason why he the friction started with him and the front office. Personnel control conflicts were another possibility maybe, but the offense never could contend when it needed to.
Harbaugh would have to be evaluated in totality with proposed coordinators and GM more than any other candidate out there.
The flip side though is that there's probably no more a sure thing of a coach connecting with a team than him.
Norv Turner and Wade Phillips couldn't hack it as head coaches, but if they coordinated for Harbaugh, I would be scared to face that in my division/conference.
Carroll and a few others had to go to college to fix their NFL game. Harbaugh essentially outperformed them all, save for Jimmy Johnson.
*because most fans just see the 3 consecutive NFC Championship game appearances and the Super Bowl appearance and make a blanket assumption he did it all by himself like Belichick.
it has to be a proven NFL coach. If he goes tho I could see a top college coach coming in with a Rosen or Darnold and building something together.