National Football League
Jim Harbaugh to be 49ers' next coach
National Football League

Jim Harbaugh to be 49ers' next coach

Published Jan. 7, 2011 12:00 a.m. ET

The San Francisco 49ers have finally gotten their guy.

Declaring it a ''perfect competitive opportunity,'' Jim Harbaugh accepted the job as coach of the 49ers and said his goal is to win a Lombardi Trophy for ''one of the legendary franchises in all of football.''

While a contract is not yet signed, 49ers brass told the five-year deal should be done Friday. The deal is worth $25 million, according to multiple reports.

Harbaugh decided to make the jump to the pros even though San Francisco has missed the playoffs for eight straight seasons and Orange Bowl MVP quarterback Andrew Luck decided to remain at Stanford for another season.


''I can feel the enthusiasm coursing through my veins right now,'' Harbaugh said. ''I accept this competitive challenge willingly.''

The 49ers worked diligently Thursday night with Harbaugh representatives to get a deal done, but Stanford was still in the picture. Harbaugh was also hotly pursued by the Miami Dolphins.

Harbaugh, who guided Stanford to a 12-1 record, including an Orange Bowl victory this season, will replace Mike Singletary. He has long admired the late Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, one of his mentors, and how Walsh made the successful leap from Stanford to the 49ers.

Once the season begins, Harbaugh will face a familiar foe — big brother John Harbaugh, coach of the Baltimore Ravens.

Niners team president and CEO Jed York said when Singletary was fired that money would be no object in finding the team's next coach. He promoted vice president of player personnel Trent Baalke to general manager earlier this week, then they worked together to make their push for Harbaugh.

The 47-year-old Harbaugh went 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 Cardinals 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.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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