Lloyd Carr's choice for Michigan coach: Jim Harbaugh

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Former Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr is pictured with Brady Hoke in 2006 when Hoke was with Ball State.

Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr is not involved in the search for the Wolverines' next head coach, but he does have a preference.

Carr is on the sideline as interim athletic director Jim Hackett works to find a replacement for Brady Hoke, fired on Tuesday after four seasons.

The fan favorite to become head coach is Jim Harbaugh, the San Francisco 49ers coach and former Michigan quarterback. Carr is on the Harbaugh bandwagon.

"Everyone has an opinion, and I am no different," Carr said Thursday. "If I had a choice, I would choose Jim Harbaugh. But it will be Jim Hackett's decision, and that is as it should be."

Former Michigan quarterback Brian Griese, who led Carr's 1997 team to a national championship and isnow a college football analyst with ESPN, said he's "close" to the search process for the Wolverines' new coach and said Hackett will take time to be thorough.

Michigan will hire its third coach since 2008 – Carr retired after the 2007 season, his 13th as head coach.

Griese, appearing on ESPN Radio's "SVP and Russillo" Show on Thursday was asked in light of quick recent hirings, including Nebraska's earlier in the day, how close is Michigan to landing its next coach.

"I think the decision at Michigan is going to be a little bit more deliberate," Griese told the show. "Jim Hackett, the athletic director is going to go through a more funneled process and whittle the candidates down. Because of the fact he doesn't have a whole lot of experience or any experience in intercollege athletics in conducting a search for a new coach it's not going to be a (Florida athletic director) Jeremy Foley hop on a plane and sign somebody."

Griese stressed that Hackett, while still the interim, who was formally introduced Oct. 31 when the university president announced former athletic Dave Brandon had resigned, is not in any rush to leave this position. He added that Hackett has other work day-to-day beyond finding a new football coach.

"What needs to be understood is this is not a temporary thing with Jim Hackett I don't believe," Greise said, adding that Hackett, in his previous role as CEO of Steelcase, has managed "very complex" business scenarios.

During a late October ESPN conference call, Griese was asked about the situation at Michigan and said if there would be a coaching change, he would not need to be on a search committee but said he and former Michigan players would help "in any way, shape or form."

He was asked Thursday who he would like to see emerge as the Wolverines' next coach.

"I'm a little bit close to this process so I'm not just going to throw out names with respect to Jim Hackett and his process -- I'm trying to help in that endeavor," Griese said. "But I know this, I know that the priorities and the requirements for this position are going to be correct. And it's going to be a combination when you look at that axis of performance and values … the candidate that can bring those pieces together will get the job."

Funchess future?

Michigan receiver Devin Funchess, a junior, didn't have a stellar season in terms of statistics, but he continues to be projected as a high pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

But will he leave early?

That's been the speculation, especially now that there will be a new coach in Ann Arbor. According to a tweet from Darren Heitner, who runs Sports Agent Blog, Funchess already is leaning toward hiring Roc Nation, which is Jay-Z's agency.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Funchess, the Big Ten's Tight End of the Year in 2013, had 733 yards receiving this season and four touchdowns. Three of those touchdown receptions came in the season opener against Appalachian State.

Funchess, like all the players, declined to speak to reporters on Tuesday afternoon outside of Schembechler Hall after receiving the news that Hoke would not return as head coach.

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