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New York Times flip-flops on Harbaugh

Dec 7, 2009, 7:30 PM EST

Earlier today, the New York Times’ Pete Thamel reported that Jim Harbaugh would meet with Notre Dame sometime this week to discuss the head coaching position.

Notre Dame’s athletic director, Jack Swarbrick, is scheduled to meet or
has met with Cincinnati Coach Brian Kelly and Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh,
a person briefed on the search said. The meetings are taking place in
New York City, where many coaches and administrators are visiting for
end-of-season gatherings.

While Kelly was regarded as the leading candidate, Harbaugh’s name
is a little more surprising. When reached on his cellphone Monday
afternoon, Harbaugh did not deny the meeting.

“Not now or not in the future will I talk about any other jobs or opportunities,” he said. “I’m out recruiting right now.”

Fast forward a few hours, and now Thamel is refuting his own report:

While Kelly confirmed his interview, another name can be crossed off
Notre Dame’s list. Stanford’s athletic director, Bob Bowlsby, strongly
denied a report in The New York Times’s Web site that Coach Jim Harbaugh would be interviewing as well.

Bowlsby
said that he was “100 percent confident” that Harbaugh was not a
candidate because he knows the situation from “both sides.” He added
that Swarbrick, a close friend, had called Bowlsby three times for
advice. Bowlsby also said that he had spoken with Harbaugh’s agent,
Jack Bechta, late Monday afternoon to confirm that nothing was going
on. Bechta did not return a telephone call on Monday.

When asked if there was any chance that Harbaugh would be the next coach at Notre Dame, Bowlsby said, “Absolutely no chance.”

Thamel clearly updated his earlier report, adding the update on Kelly’s Twitter account and the quotes from Bowlsby. Yet the Times kept the same URL address for the story, updating only the text and headline to pull Harbaugh’s name from the report, but not the title page associated with the URL.

Add the New York Times to the list of reputable news sources that practiced a little “ready, fire, aim!” journalism. Just another red herring in the hunt to break the story on Charlie Weis’ replacement.

  1. bolsh - Dec 7, 2009 at 8:06 PM

    Listening to Monday Night Countdown and Jim Harbaugh was interviewed. The reporter asked if he was coming back to Stanford next year, and he said that God willing, he will be back at Stanford next year. Not an exact denial, but an interesting comment.

  2. StephenOfTroy - Dec 7, 2009 at 11:47 PM

    I saw the same program, bolsh. Sounded more definitive to me; he said there was no meeting, he hadn’t talked to anyone from ND and wouldn’t be meeting with them. He agreed when the reporter asked him if the AD at Stanford was right when the AD said there was no chance he would be the next coach at ND. He said he’s the head coach at Stanford.

  3. Rob - Dec 8, 2009 at 9:43 AM

    “I guess I have to say it. I’m not gonna be the Alabama coach.”
    – Nick Saban, days before taking the Alabama job
    Anybody who listens to anything these guys say at a time like this is either naiive or foolish. Put yourself in their shoes, they may want to take the job, or they may not. But if kids/recruits find out they’re interviewing, they stand to lose a lot of credibility in case they are offered and decide to stay put.

  4. teo - Dec 8, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    Jim Harbaugh is a nice guy. He may have been a great quarterback and he may be an even better coach. But, Harbaugh is in a good spot right now. I don’t think Notre Dame should try to get him. That is my own view because I want someone with some serious head coaching experience who can come in and change the program.
    I can see any one of the big 3 doing this. I can’t see Edsall or Harbaugh doing this. Again, though, I’ve been wrong. . . .

  5. NDFAN401 - Dec 8, 2009 at 1:52 PM

    I would just like to see all the games and rumors end. Now there is a report that Brian Kelly has posted on Twitter that there will be no meeting between him and ND today. The situation with Harbaugh is the same as all the other names just another smoke screen to keep everyone lingering around. It seems to me that Jack Swarbrick is not exactly motivated or being truthful about what is happening with this situation and this is exactly the type of cloak and dagger crap that we do not need! Interview the candidates, choose the next coach and lets get on with recruiting, repairing the program, and now fixing a depleted offense.

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  11. Stop Sweating - Feb 9, 2010 at 6:30 AM

    my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at distinct end there, not leave it with ‘we leave it to you to decide’.

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