Thursday, January 24, 2013

Former Michigan Athlete of the Week: Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh played a long time ago, and I don't have any memories of his time at U of M.  People tell me he was fairly good.

What I do remember are the disparaging remarks that he made about Michigan academics right around the time I began packing my bags for Ann Arbor.  Those comments did not endear him to me.

But regardless of anyone's feelings toward Harbaugh, he is a second generation Michigan Man and a former three-year starting quarterback who had a "special relationship"* with Bo Schembechler.  Harbaugh's Michigan roots run deep, and his experience as a Wolverine can arguably be called the single most important factor in his development as a coach.   And everyone agrees that Harbaugh is a good coach.

After defeating the Atlanta Falcons, 27-24, in the NFC Championship Game, Harbaugh and his 49ers open as 4.5 point favorites against the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.

I'll be rooting for him.

*Freep  article

Honorable mention:  Center Jonathan Goodwin anchored a 49er offensive line that paved the way for 149 rushing yards while giving up only one sack.  Goodwin already has one Super Bowl ring as a member of the New Orleans Saints.


  1. I was in high school when Jim was the QB. I went to the 1985 OSU v U of M game where Jimmy hit John Kolesar on a 77 yard bomb to win the game. Although he isn't #1 on the statistical lists, an argument can be made that he was the best U of M QB of all time. We was 26-5-1 as a starter in 2 1/2 seasons. Beat OSU twice. Won 1 B1G Championship. Beat Nebraska to finish #2 in 1985. He could run and pass (Brady and Henne couldn't) equally. Plus he was a great leader.

    1. If you're factoring in mobility and leadership, I think Ryan Mallett is the clear winner.

      Seriously though, that's a nice winning percentage, overall and against OSU.

    2. I was in college during his time as UM QB. I personally think he was the best I've ever seen during his time in college. Brady was obviously the most talented looking backwards, but Lloyd didn't utilize him the best.

  2. SF won 28-24, not 27-21, but I agree with your other points.

  3. What exactly were his comments about the academics?

  4. "Michigan is a good school, and I got a good education there, but the athletic department has ways to get borderline guys in, and, when they're in, they steer them to courses in sports communications," Harbaugh told the San Francisco Examiner in 2007. "They're adulated when they're playing, but when they get out, the people who adulated them won't hire them."

    "I would use myself as an example," he said. "I came in there, wanted to be a history major, and I was told early on in my freshman year that I shouldn't be. That it takes too much time. Too much reading. That I shouldn't be a history major and play football."

    The comments were specific to student-athletes, but they generated a lot of bad publicity about Michigan's integrity and academics as a whole.

  5. He was a very good player and the quintessential 'coach on the field', displaying good leadership throughout his career. He was the standard-bearer for what it is to be a Michigan quarterback until things got a lot a more passing-oriented under Carr.

    Good coach, but not a great guy based on most objective reports. I don't think your typical Michigan fan has too much of a reason to root for him one way or the other, even though he was a player. Too much public stuff has happened since and he's a Stanford-man now, moreso than a Michigan man. His Dad moved him and his family around and so I think Jim hasn't sunk his roots to deeply. Have to respect what a quality coach he is, but there is no reason to root for him necessarily-- Especially since he's playing his brother who also has ties to Michigan despite never coaching at UM, AFAIK.