Stanford officials were waiting to hear Friday whether Jim Harbaugh would accept an enhanced offer to stay put to coach the Cardinal or leave for the NFL.
”The ball is in Jim’s court,” a person with knowledge of the situation said, speaking on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because negotiations were ongoing.
Late Thursday, talks between Harbaugh and the Miami Dolphins ended, according to two other people close to the situation.
Harbaugh also is weighing an offer from the 49ers to replace fired coach Mike Singletary. San Francisco missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season despite being picked to win the NFC West.
Orange Bowl MVP quarterback Andrew Luck said Thursday he will return to Stanford next season rather than enter the NFL draft — which might entice Harbaugh to stay if he believes he has a shot at a national championship in 2011.
New Broncos chief John Elway, a former Stanford star, said on his weekly radio show Friday that Denver is no longer in the mix. Elway said he believes Harbaugh wants to stay at Stanford, where he capped a 12-1 season with a 40-12 Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech on Monday night in Miami. The 12 wins are a school record.
The 47-year-old Harbaugh is 58-27 overall as a college coach and 29-21 in four seasons at Stanford. He took over a 1-11 team when he was hired in December 2006 and quickly turned the program back into a winner and bowl contender.
The Cardinal went 4-8 in his first season, 5-7 the next, then improved to 8-5 and earned a Sun Bowl berth in 2009 – the school’s first bowl appearance since 2001.
A Facebook page was started this week called ”Coach Harbaugh, Please Stay at Stanford.”
When Stanford arrived back on campus Tuesday, one man hollered ”Stay in the Bay Area!” when Harbaugh hopped off the bus carrying his 2-year-old daughter, Addison. He also has a newborn baby girl.
Harbaugh was the Oakland Raiders’ quarterbacks coach from 2002-03 before spending three seasons as head coach at the University of San Diego.
Harbaugh, a college star at Michigan where there also is a coaching vacancy after the firing of Rich Rodriguez, played 15 seasons in the NFL for the Bears, Colts, Ravens, Chargers and Panthers. A first-round draft pick taken 26th overall by Chicago in 1987, Harbaugh completed 2,305 of 3,918 passes for 26,288 career yards and 129 touchdowns in the NFL. He also ran for 18 TDs.