Harbaugh to 49ers: AP

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Stanford Cardinal looks on after Stanford won 40-12 against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

    Jim Harbaugh is headed to the NFL without leaving the Bay Area.

    The successful Stanford coach has been hired to coach the San Francisco 49ers, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had yet to announce the hire.

    Harbaugh, a longtime NFL quarterback, will replace fired coach Mike Singletary. ESPN reported that Harbaugh's expected to sign a five-year deal worth $25 million.

    The 49ers scheduled an afternoon news conference in San Francisco to make the announcement.

    Harbaugh decided to make the jump to the pros even though San Francisco has missed the playoffs for eight straight seasons and Orange Bowl MVP quarterback Andrew Luck decided to remain at Stanford for another season.

    Harbaugh long admired the late Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh, one of his mentors, and how Walsh made the successful leap from Stanford to the 49ers.

    Now, he must turn around a once-proud franchise that is desperate to become a contender again right away. The 49ers were picked to win the NFC West this season, then began 0-5 for their worst start since losing seven straight to begin a 2-14 season in 1979 -- Walsh's first year as coach.

    Niners team president and CEO Jed York said when Singletary was fired that money would be no object in finding the team's next coach. He promoted vice president of player personnel Trent Baalke to general manager earlier this week, then they worked together to make their push for Harbaugh, who also was in talks with the Miami Dolphins and Stanford.

    The 47-year-old Harbaugh went 58-27 overall as a college coach and 29-21 in four seasons at Stanford. He took over a 1-11 team when he was hired in December 2006 and quickly turned the program back into a winner and bowl contender.

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    In case your team did not win the Harbaugh Coaching Lotter, enjoy this video of the coach as The Bachelor.