ESPN is reporting Jim Harbaugh has decided to head down the street from Palo Alto to become the next coach of the San Francisco 49ers. The former NFL quarterback supposedly gave Stanford one last chance to retain him after leading the Cardinal to the best season in school history, which ended with an Orange Bowl victory, but the Niners offered a sweeter deal. The contract is reportedly worth $25 million over five years. A formal announcement is expected at 3:30 p.m.
While Harbaugh won’t be bringing along quarterback Andrew Luck, who decided a day earlier to return to Stanford for his junior season, the coach should provide excitement to a Niners fan base that hasn’t seen its team make the playoffs since 2002. And those same fans might remember the last time the 49ers hired a coach from Stanford, it worked out pretty well. Could Harbaugh be the second coming of Bill Walsh?