David Tepper, assisted by consulting firm Sportology, are on the hunt for the head coach they hope will lead the Carolina Panthers to the “sustained excellence” Tepper promised to bring to the franchise when he purchased it in 2018.
As of Friday morning, the Panthers have conducted Zoom interviews with Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales, Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, Ravens defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald, Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith and Panthers interim head coach Chris Tabor.
That’s twelve potential candidates for the job, but one name that’s noticeably missing from that list is current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh has a winning record at both the college and professional ranks. He led the San Francisco 49ers to two divisional titles and three playoff appearances in his four years as head coach and most recently a won a College Football Championship at the University of Michigan. One would think that track record alone would warrant an interview, but so far Carolina has reportedly not expressed interest.
I guess the answer to that depends on what Tepper and his consulting firm believe is most important thing for the spiraling franchise. Is it a young offensive minded coach who can bring the best out of quarterback Bryce Young, or is it an experienced coach who can bring culture back to a team that has been without it since the departure of Cam Newton?
At this point, I think the latter is most needed. Young, bright offensive minds aren’t a dime a dozen, but they are easier to find than winning head coaches. The Carolina Panthers need a coach who has the experience and track record that would allow Tepper to take a step back from his reported micro managing style. That could come in the form of a carefully worded contract OR it could come in the form of a resume that proves they know how to win as a head coach. That’s something Harbaugh undoubtedly has, which is why the reluctance to even interview him is perplexing.
Maybe Tepper and Harbaugh didn’t click during reported preliminary conversations about the Panthers’ coaching vacancy last year, but does that matter? Do the Panthers need someone who gets along or a winner? After posting the worst record in the league under his ownership the answer should be clear…or at least warrant an interview.