And that was evident today at Big Media Days’ presser involving Jim Harbaugh, who played under Shembechler in mid-80s, and still holds his coaches values in Michigan’s program today.
“Pretty much if we could do it the way Bo did it that would be something to aspire to,” Harbaugh said in remembrance of his old coach. “Not a day goes by really where I don't think about Coach Schembechler from the time I leave my house to go to the office I live about five houses away from where Bo lived.
“And no matter which way I take to work, whether it's Devonshire or Geddes or Stadium, I'll often think well Bo probably took this right on to Washtenaw or took this left onto Hill. I know he took this left onto State Street and parked my car and walked by his statue.”
Harbaugh continued: “Daily, I go to my office. I've got a picture of Bo there's a picture of Bo and myself when we were at the Rose Bowl in '87. And, yeah, so it's to have his work ethic, to run the program like he ran it, yeah, those are things to aspire to.”
While Harbaugh may aspire to run his program like Schembechler, he noted he had multiple father figures in his life who helped get to where he is now – and most notably – his own father, Jack, being the leader of the bunch.
“My dad, I think of things like who had the most influence on me in my life, my dad, Bo Schembechler, Mike Ditka, Al Davis,” Harbaugh said. “With my dad, it was just he it was always my dad. He played catch with me, took me to games. And most of all, he just always believed in me. When it comes to advice whether it's personally or professionally, he is the one I go to.”
Ditka, who coached Harbaugh when he played for the Chicago Bears in the late 80s and early 90s, is another strong influence on Harbaugh. He even came out the podium with a Ditka jersey, which he received while visiting his former coach at his restaurant -- Mike Ditka’s Restaurant -- on Thursday night.
“So many things. It's your coach. It's your coach,” Harbaugh said of Ditka. “When you're a player, your coach is it's like family. There is your family. There is sometimes there's a favorite teacher that you had growing up, grade school or high school. There's sometimes a neighbor that you were very close to. Maybe somebody in the church or the clergy and your coach. And it's so close to your family that I had a chance to spend the evening with Coach last night at his restaurant.”
However, Harbaugh says Ditka didn't add his signature to the jersey.
"No, no, he didn't autograph it. But I'll be proud to wear that," he said.