1) He installed a winning attitude that would eventually see the Cardinal to a BCS bowl this season.
2) He ripped his alma mater Michigan for its coddling of football players when it came to academics
In the late summer of 2007, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER columnist Glenn Dickey had this from Harbaugh:
“College football needs Stanford. We’re looking not for student athletes but scholar-athletes. No other school can carry this banner. The Ivy League schools don’t have enough weight [because of their low athletic level]. Other schools which have good academic reputations have ways to get borderline athletes in and keep them in.”
Harbaugh includes his alma mater, Michigan, in that indictment.
“Michigan is a good school and I got a good education there,” he said, “but the athletic department has ways to get borderline guys in and, when they’re in, they steer them to courses in sports communications. They’re adulated when they’re playing, but when they get out, the people who adulated them won’t hire them.”
The former star quarterback for the Wolverines then didn’t back away when confronted about the remarks by the DETROIT FREE PRESS:
“I would use myself as an example. I came in there, wanted to be a history major, and I was told early on in my freshman year that I shouldn’t be. That it takes too much time. Too much reading. That I shouldn’t be a history major and play football.”
That prompted 2007 Michigan football captain Michael Hart to later say of Harbaugh, “He’s a guy I have no respect for.”
At the time, Harbaugh’s comments were thought to be an unforgivable sin in Ann Arbor.
As current UM coach Rich Rodriguez twists in the win, Harbaugh is now the obvious favorite to take over the Michigan program if Rodriguez is jettisoned by school Athletic Director Dave Brandon.
Somehow even more ironic than Harbaugh’s criticism of Michigan in ‘07 was the words of quarterback Tate Forcier today in an interview with the DETROIT FREE PRESS.
On the subject of academics, Forcier said:
“I was always the kid who was street smart but not that smart classroom-wise. You really have to try to flunk out here. All you have to do is go to class, it’s not that hard.”
Forcier is a C student majoring in one of the path-of-least-resistance UM majors Harbaugh had earlier referred to: Kinesiology.
Not only is there a legitimate chance that Harbaugh may soon be first in line to take over the Michigan program, if he want its, but today one of the current UM quarterbacks he might be coaching in that scenario confirmed himself as a case study for the remarks the coach was once assailed for by his fellow Michigan men.
Best part: Forcier’s brother Jason, a former backup quarterback for Michigan (2005-06), transferred to … wait for it … Stanford.