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Monday morning’s calm recounting of NBA playoff action and dragon-show antics was interrupted by a Woj-bomb of epic proportions, one few people saw coming — the University of Michigan’s beloved, long-time head basketball coach John Beilein accepting a five-year deal to take over the helm of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

It’s a shocking move for Beilein, who coached the Wolverines for twelve seasons — a run of success that included nine NCAA tournament appearances and two separate runs to the tournament’s final game — but it’s also the culmination of a steady 40-year climb through the coaching ranks, from high school to Division III, Division II, small schools, mid-majors and finally the Big Ten. It only makes sense, when viewed from this angle, that Beilein wouldn’t stop one step short of the final pinnacle, coaching in the sport’s top level of competition.

With that in mind, and no personal biases at work at all here, I’m going to make a modest and well-reasoned suggestion: it’s time for another Michigan head coach to make the final leap, too.

It’s time for Jim Harbaugh to take on his ultimate dream.

“But Jim Harbaugh’s already coached in the NFL,” you might say. “Sure, he was rumored to be a candidate for the Cleveland Browns job, but they’ve got a coach now, and despite his history with the Indianapolis Colts, I don’t see why he’d-”

Hey. This is my column. Zip it.

Besides, this isn’t at all what I’m suggesting. Yes, I do think it’s time for Jim Harbaugh to move on from coaching the Wolverines’ football team. He arrived with great fanfare, and he’s accomplished almost everything he set out to do in Ann Arbor, save for winning a championship, making the playoff, winning the Big Ten, playing in a Big Ten title game, or beating Ohio State. He’s got nothing left to prove at this level, except for those things.

There’s only one place left for him to go.

It’s time for Jim Harbaugh to become a rancor keeper.

The job doesn’t come around often, and when it does open up, it’s something you’ve got to seize on. The current rancor keeper, Malakili, has had the job since at least 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Though he wasn’t shown in either of the two recent Star Wars movies, you’ve got to figure he’s getting up there in years, and probably looking to retire to the broadcast booth, if not Florida. Harbaugh’s a perfect fit for the job, and if the creators of this year’s forthcoming Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker decide to bring back the rancor, it could be the perfect time for him to jump in.

The job offers him many advantages, and very few disadvantages. Let’s review:


  • Working in a dark pit
  • No recruiting; they just throw people into the pit.
  • Close, hands-on coaching; you’re not handling 100-plus student athletes, you’re just handling one horrific, massive, armored, man-eating creature. You really get to get deep into coaching technique; focusing on mechanics, strategy, and things like “which part of the person do you eat first” and “which parts taste best”
  • Get to be shirtless, no one cares, you work in a dark pit
  • Trading Michigan fans and boosters for one monstrous criminal smuggler who’s at least honest about what kind of program he runs
  • Lose to your big rival, that’s fine, they’re used to that
  • Pillowcase on head? Stylish
  • Creature might leave some scraps behind, and no one will notice, maybe you’ll get to try human meat? You’ve definitely been curious, we get it, but they don’t exactly serve human at Zingerman’s, now, do they? It’s not that you’d do it often, but the curiosity’s been getting to you for a while now and you feel like it’d just be something you could move past if you just did it
  • That Skywalker punk’s always had a real attitude about him, and you’ve been wanting to show him what’s what ever since he left before graduating at Dagobah
  • Human meat. Did I already say that? Still


  • Star Wars has a large, devoted fanbase full of people who think that everything should stay the way it was in the 1970s and can’t adjust to any modernizations of the object of their obsession, no matter how overdue those changes are

Alright that one’s a push I guess.