Hackett Deserves Applause For Harbaugh

Interim athletic director Jim Hackett had the vision to bring Jim Harbaugh back to Michigan -- and should be commended for it.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – If you were giving Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett a movie review on his hire of Jim Harbaugh. It would be a four-star hit. A blockbuster. It would be the No. 1 movie in the country.

He would be up for an Oscar for best movie director, too.

His did that good of job.

He deserves a standing applause.


However, the job he was able to do wasn’t easy. But he was able to finish. And he should be commended for it.

How did it start? Well, it started with a vision he had the day he fired then U-M coach Brady Hoke earlier this month. And it turned into a coaching search that focused squarely on getting Harbaugh to Michigan, when most experts in the NFL world doubted he could.

They were wrong.

He won. And most importantly -- Michigan won.

On Tuesday, Harbaugh was introduced as Michigan’s 20th coach in the programs history. And it’s all thanks to Hackett.

"On December 3, I asked you to be patient with me as we started this search,” Hackett said at Harbaugh’s introductory press conference on Tuesday. “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."

Yes he did, in fact, he delivered the University of Michigan the best coach available in Harbaugh, who mutually left the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after compiling a 49-22-1 record after four years with the organization. A four year tenure that included three straight NFC championships and Super Bowl XLVII.

The hiring was unprecedented to say the least. To bring such a great coach from the pro ranks rarely happens, especially with someone of Harbaugh’s pedigree. But it did happen. And big part of it was how Hackett used his inner circle to get info on Harbaugh, anything to help lure the big star to lead his feature film.

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

Hackett’s ability to reach out to players and let them know his progress, earned their “trust” heading up to the eventual hire of Harbaugh, fifth-year senior Jack Miller said, even with team not knowing the certainty of the hire until till days before the announcement.

“We trust in Jim Hackett and everything will work itself out,” Miller said. “Here we are, we couldn’t of hoped for more.”

And how he kept the coaching search behind closed doors, is what really impressed former U-M coach Lloyd Carr, who publicly supported the hire of Harbaugh a earlier this month. Which is a credit to Hackett and his ability to connect with right people to get Harbaugh back in Ann Arbor.

“I think Jim Hackett and his team did a tremendous job,” Carr said. “ Because nobody from the outside really knew a lot of the things that were going on behind the scenes. I think that’s hard to do in the environment that we live in. I think it’s a credit to Jim [Hackett] and the way he put it together.

“So I think we have great leadership there in Jim Hackett.”

Certainly, that leadership has cemented the legacy of Hackett and future of the Michigan program.

And the Oscar goes to. …

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