Michigan Welcomes Jim Harbaugh

Michigan athletic director Jim Hackett officially named Jim Harbaugh the 20th coach of the Michigan football team today. The room was filled to capacity with local and national media, former players, and former coaches... and the Wolverines' new headman didn't disappoint.

Michigan Interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett

Opening statement ... "It's great to be with all of you today. I want to welcome all the people who have come from all over the place to report this news. I want to single out some people here who are quite special and made a special effort to join us. You heard we have former coaches from Michigan in Lloyd Carr, Gary Moeller and Jerry Hanlon. The Michigan faithful will always stop to shake their hands and thank them for all they have done over the years for this great university. Let me do that as well as they unselfishly helped me in thinking through this coaching transition. All of these gentlemen coached under the late, great Glenn E. "Bo" Schembechler and with a simple phone call, we have Bo's wife, Kathy Schembechler, here who made a huge effort during holiday break and snowstorms in Denver to join in this celebration today. Thank you, Kathy.
"We also have here today Michigan regents Kathy White, Larry Deitch and Andrew Richner, all of whom have been so helpful in the process we constructed that resulted in this great hire. And while I am mentioning the top leadership at the University, let me also thank our president Mark Schlissel, who had just arrived less than six months ago this summer. He was terrific to me in counsel, as a person to brainstorm with and more importantly as a touchstone of what the University seeks in its destiny of being leaders and best in academics and athletics."

"And finally, I invited members of my team, two of whom knocked themselves out since we started this project, Chrissi Rawak and Mike DeBord plus Tim Lynch, who is the VP in general counsel. When you do a deal like this, there is a lot of legal work. Thanks to all three of them."

"As you hear of my selection for head coach, you should also know I broke one of the cardinal rules in negotiation. I fell in love with the guy from the other side. His name is John Denison and he played an enormous part in bringing the coach home."

"I am sorry for the preamble because I know you want me to get on with it. This part of the program is really what it's about, being at Michigan. We recognize the team first."

"On December 3, I asked you to be patient with me as we started this search. And we pledged to you a deliberate nature of our work, and we discussed how broadly we were going to search for this coach. We did that."

"We went through a deep think phase that led to our point of view today. Many fans, alumni, past players, they took the time to give me input. I even talked to our current team twice about this decision."

"Safe to say I heard from lots of people. So today I'm very pleased and proud to announce the 20th head football coach of the University of Michigan, Jim Harbaugh."

"The real talent in the family is Sarah Harbaugh. She's here with her children, Addie, Katie, Jack and Jimmy and Grace and Jim's brother in law John and niece Kennedy are here. Welcome to all of them."

"And a special welcome to Jack and Jackie Harbaugh. Jack was a coach here at Michigan for a number of years, and his wife Jackie, they were both incredible assets to our Michigan family as they were building what seemed to be a cadre of exceptional leaders in athletics."

"Now, Jack was a coach when I played here and as I told Jim, he never had a bad day. He was such a positive influence, and I'm glad he's back around our program. Thanks, Jack."

"I mentioned I talked to lots of people. One particularly famous pro coach who had done broadcasting for many years told me this: You know, Jim Hackett, you didn't just get a great coach, you got the best coach in football today. College or pro, in Jim Harbaugh. There are a lot of great coaches out here. He has a brother who is one. We have many of them on our list. But when you ask how many of these coaches won at all levels, college and pro, it's hard to find someone to compare with. In my upbringing I remember my dad talking about Paul Brown because he excelled at all levels."

"This guy is just like that. I could go on about him. He won 49 games in four years with the San Francisco 49ers, just amazing. And considering that he has really strong competitors in that league, including another one with the initials JH, he faced a lot of competition in the pros and amassed a fantastic record. I think that Jim was likely, no, surely, was a candidate for any of these pro jobs that opened yesterday. And yet, he chose to come home. At Michigan, Jim will make the same salary he was paid at the Niners. Jim has signed a seven-year deal. In a year from now, I'll review the football program's progress, and the university will determine an appropriate deferred compensation arrangement, which I have to take into account market conditions at that time."

"As you know, there's a lot of opportunity out there for talent like this. I don't plan on talking more about pay because I'm totally at peace with the fact that we have a win-win deal here. We thought about a way to signal Jim's coming home, and I looked around campus and realized that maize is everywhere. I'm wearing a maize watch, and I've gifted these to family and friends as a reminder of this very special day, our guy came home. Please join me in welcoming Jim to his first press conference as the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family head coach of the University of Michigan, Jim Harbaugh."

Jim Harbaugh

Opening statement ... "Thank you. Thank you very much. Apologize for my voice. They dumped Gatorade over me Sunday after our ballgame, and I've lost my vocal cords a little bit. And I don't know if anybody saw me trip on the way in. Anybody see that? A lesser athlete would have gone down. (Laughter).That's all I have to say about that.
"There are very special words that are in the English language that we all embrace. There's family. There's friends. There's teammates. There's victory.
"I was reminded of another very special word when I was driving into Ann Arbor this morning, and that word is homecoming. Our family's had three homecomings to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in my lifetime."

"The first was in 1973, when my dad was hired to coach the secondary at the University of Michigan. We came in in March, early March, and we had nowhere to live. Bo Schembechler told Bob Sutton, who was a graduate assistant at the time, that the Harbaugh's were going to move into his apartment, which was in the basement of the golf course."

"Now, this was one heck of a deal, because there was a blizzard that hit Ann Arbor at that time, and the city was shut down, and everything was shut down. But my brother and I, John, we had the run of the golf course. There was a basement that had putting greens, sand boxes and baseball batting cages, and for three weeks it was heaven on earth. Then in 1982, I was recruited to Michigan as a student-athlete to play for the legendary Bo Schembechler and coach Jerry Hanlon, I see over here sitting with my quarterback coach Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr were on that staff as well. And my first team meeting I was 10minutes late to the first team meeting. "

"Coach Schembechler told me I would never play a single down at the University of Michigan my entire career. And then now, 2014, to come back as football coach at the University of Michigan. I have to tell you that I have thought about that, dreamed about that since the time I was a young lad, nine, 10 years old, and throughout my adult life, dreamed about coaching at Michigan, and now it's time to live that. "

"I have no other words to really describe how that feels except to tell you I have great excitement about the challenge of serving the University of Michigan as your football coach. I want to introduce my family. This is my wife Sarah, Sarah Harbaugh. She's holding young Jack Harbaugh named after his grandfather. I call him Mighty Jack the Quarterback. Two years old. This is Addie Harbaugh, who is six years old. John Feuerborn my brother in law, very close friend. My son Jimmy Harbaugh, 18 years old. He's getting ready to graduate from high school and looking to start college in the fall himself. Katie Harbaugh is four. She's in the bathroom. (Laughter) And my mom and dad, Jack and Jackie Harbaugh."

"I'll go down the line. I want to introduce my daughter, Grace Harbaugh, 12 years old, tremendous water polo player and student, and Kennedy Feuerborn, John Feuerborn's daughter and my niece. I also want to thank some very important people. The board of regents at the University of Michigan. I want to thank President Schlissel. I want to thank the athletic director Jim Hackett for having the confidence in me to bring me here to the University of Michigan."

"Also want to thank Brady and Laura Hoke, my very good friends for their outstanding service at the University of Michigan. They have honored the University of Michigan football program, and I'm pleased to have such a tremendous foundation to stand on. And that foundation was built by Brady, by Lloyd Carr, by Gary Moeller, by Bo Schembechler. By Jerry Hanlon, by Jon Falk, by the men and women who have served the University of Michigan for over a century, for more than a century they've been playing football at the University of Michigan."

"And all the former players, their families. I feel like I'm standing on this foundation that is so rock solid. I feel like I'm standing on the shoulders of tall, tall men, and I can't thank you enough. I can't thank the alumni enough. The students, the faculty, for the enthusiasm that you've all shown, to my family and I. Top to bottom Michigan is about excellence, is about greatness, and you have my pledge that I will carry forward the excellence of the University of Michigan football program. Thank you very much."


The Michigan Insider Top Stories