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Harbaugh signs with Michigan, says source

Former San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has signed a deal to become the new coach at Michigan, a person with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on Monday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no formal announcement from the school or Harbaugh, who did not return calls or text messages. But not long after Harbaugh arrived at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Monday night, Michigan scheduled a news conference for today for a “major” football announcement.

“I think we’ll have some comments tomorrow,” Harbaugh told The Michigan Daily, the student newspaper in Ann Arbor.

The 51-year-old Harbaugh coached the 49ers to three straight NFC championship games and San Francisco lost the 2013 Super Bowl to a Baltimore Ravens team coached by his brother, John. After the 49ers slipped to 8-8 this season and missed the playoffs, he parted ways with the team Sunday in what both sides called a mutual decision.

A day later, his name was the buzz of the Big Ten.

The idea of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry spiced up with Harbaugh vs. Urban Meyer harkens to the league’s glory days, when Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes ruled the conference.

“He’s basically Michigan royalty right now,” said former Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson, now a Jacksonville Jaguars running back. “He’s the man right now. I think he’s going to do a great job and help out recruiting. He’s had success at every school he went to. I think it’s a great fit for Michigan.”

Meanwhile, in California, 49ers CEO Jed York said he’s tired of the legal troubles involving his team, hinting Monday that the standards slipped under Harbaugh while pointing the blame at everybody involved including himself.

As the off-field problems and arrests mounted, Harbaugh stood and spoke for the franchise each time — exactly how the front office wanted it. He handled the tough questions and all the mundane day-to-day dealings in between.

The 49ers had 10 arrests involving six different players since January 2012, most in the NFL.

“There are things that I didn’t necessarily like — Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, that you don’t speak more loudly on because you win,” York said. “And that’s my failure. There were things that in conversations that we had, I know what my gut was. And we had conversations and we did things that probably didn’t jell well with who I am. And I would rather do the things that we need to, but stay at the level of class that I expect of the San Francisco 49ers. And this isn’t shooting at Jim and saying, ‘Jim made all these decisions.’ I want you to clearly hear that.”

Broadly referred to as “philosophical differences,” the issues between York and Harbaugh ultimately were too great to maintain a winning relationship.

That is York’s take on what transpired anyway. He and general manager Trent Baalke addressed Harbaugh’s departure a day later in what the owner reiterated was a “mutual decision.”

“We’ve had philosophical discussions and when we sat down we just couldn’t come to a place where we thought moving (on) together was the best for either party,” York said. “We didn’t win the Super Bowl. If we don’t win the Super Bowl, we’re not executing. Our mission is very simple: The San Francisco 49ers win with class. We haven’t won, and I don’t think we’ve conducted ourselves with the level of class that I expect of our organization. We’ve had off-the-field issues. That’s going to happen in sports. The level that it’s happened here is not acceptable.”

York said he understands if fans are frustrated that the team parted ways with Harbaugh.

“Jim is a very good football coach. I certainly understand why our fans would want him to stay,” York said. “They’re upset, I get it.”

Players cleaned out lockers, and began fielding questions about what they want in a new coach. Several said they’d love someone a lot like Harbaugh.