After days of reports, Jim Harbaugh was officially introduced as Michigan’s head football coach in front of family and friends at the Junge Family Champions Center connected to famed Michigan stadium today.
Harbaugh, who coached the San Francisco 49ers the past four seasons, thanked his family, friends, current players and former players for coming to his announcement, which he labeled as a “homecoming.”
“There is very special words that are in the English language that we embrace,” Harbaugh said. “There is family. There is friends. There is teammates. There is victory. I was reminded of a another very special word when I was driving into Ann Arbor this morning. That word is homecoming.” He then went to reflect on his first time moving to Ann Arbor when his father, Jack, took the job as a secondary coach for U-M in 1973, and when he was late to his first team meeting in 1982 under famed coach Bo Schembechler.
“Then now in 2014 to comeback as the football coach at the University of Michigan, I have thought about that, I have dreamed about that the time I was a young lad, like 10-years-old and throughout adult life I dream about coaching at Michigan,” Harbaugh said. “Now it’s time to live that. I have no other word to describe how that feels. Just great excitement about that challenge of serving the University of Michigan as your football coach.”
In four years as the 49ers head coach, Harbaugh complied as 49-22-1 record. He led the 49ers to three straight NFC championship and Super Bowl XLVII. It was thought he would take a job with another NFL franchise, but was swayed away to coach at his alma mater by interim athletic director Jim Hackett.
“We are excited to have Jim come home and lead our football program into the future,” Hackett said. “Since retiring from playing in the NFL, Jim has worked hard to become one of the elite coaches in in the profession. He has been successful at every coaching stop and has done an exceptional job of molding and developing young men as football players, students and citizens.”
Now, Hackett wants Harbaugh to bring his excellence to Michigan.
“Top to bottom Michigan is about excellence,” Harbaugh said. “It’s about greatness. You have my pledge to carry forward the tradition of excellence at the University of Michigan football program.”
Harbaugh’s contract with the Wolverines was lower than the six year, $48 million that was reported last week. He confirmed that he signed his deal on Monday for seven years for $35 million, with incentives that could pay him as much $500,000 for winning the national championship.
“I want to do a good job,” Harbaugh said. “I want to do good. I want to win. I win at practice. I want to win on the practice field. I want to win in the classroom. I want to win in the community. We want to win on fall Saturday afternoons. We’ll have great expectations for that. We’ll have great expectations for the first team meeting. For the first week of winter conditioning – I can’t wait.”
Harbaugh even went on to say he would like a chance to build a foundation at Michigan for the long haul.
“You build this home and you hope it’s a great cathedral,” Harbaugh said. “Then afterwards you build another one. There is some dirt down there to build another home. I feel like that again. I am at that point, even though you’ve done well, built some pretty nice homes. You have to do it again. You have to prove it again. But I would really like to live in one permanently. That’s what I am very hopeful for here.”
When asked if he was uncomfortable being called a messiah?
Harbaugh jokingly replied: “I’m not uncomfortable with that at all.”
“They are outstanding programs,” Harbaugh said. “I make no guarantees. I made a guarantee a long time ago. I’ve learned from that, I’ve grown.”
Late adding: “I understand there is no guarantees.”
On his personality:
“I feel like it is the only personality I have,” Harbaugh said. “The other ones were all taken, so I got this one.”