Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel isn't concerned about the attention Jim Harbaugh receives. Why should he be?

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel has always been impressed with how Jim Harbaugh handles attention, dating all the way back to his playing days. Now having success as a coach, why change it?

Warde Manuel knows the deal.

On the job as Michigan's new Director of Athletics for a matter of weeks, Manuel sees and hears the criticism of football coach Jim Harbaugh.

But Manuel certainly doesn't read about it and won't be doing anything to change how Harbaugh operates.

"Well, first and foremost, the Jim Harbaugh that I have known and know now, is not the person out there seeking this for his own benefit," Manuel said in a meeting with media Friday afternoon at Crisler Center. 

"The attention comes, it seems to come often. I don't think it's, as I've talked to him over the last four or five weeks, there's nothing intentional he's doing to say 'I want attention.' He's going to do the things on Twitter, he's going to make the responses to questions the way he wants to do it and there's nothing that he's doing to try to bring attention to him. 

"I think he's doing what's in the best interest of the team. He's going to defend Michigan and Michigan football. If that creates attention, if the things he does to make the football team better creates attention and that comes with it, then that's just what's going to happen."

With college football coaches casting large shadows over athletic departments and universities across the country these days, Manuel understands there's times his coaches will have to step-up and speak, other times he'll do the speaking for them.

By and large though, Manuel called this a team effort, and as long as Harbaugh is on the same page, he doesn't need to share the spotlight.

"I never have concern about who's in the front, who's in the back," Manuel said. "As long as we're all in the same car moving forward, I'm good with it."

Former teammates at Michigan, Manuel fondly remembers the star quarterback Harbaugh was, and the amount of attention sent his direction during that time.

Impressed with how Harbaugh handled himself as a player, Manuel is just as pleased with the same approach as the head coach at Michigan, because he's always himself.

"I remember the game, watching Jim when he was at Stanford and the conversation that he had at midfield with Pete Carroll when he was at USC," Manuel said. 

"I don't know who I was with or what the circumstances were, but I do remember I said, 'that's the Jim Harbaugh I've always known.'"

In a little over a year on the job at Michigan, it seems to be working so far.


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