There are plenty of rumors out there about Jim Harbaugh\’s future and whether or not that includes returning to his alma mater, The University of Michigan, to \”save the football program\” and take over as head coach. While the rumors and news is flowing, stories about Harbaugh\’s insane competitiveness have been coming out and, oh man, are they great. So, I have decided to put together my top 10 favorite Jim Harbaugh stories. Enjoy:
1. Guaranteeing victory over OSU in 1986
\”For instance, one of the activities at Harbaugh\’s recent bachelor party (he\’s been married twice) was laser tag. Everyone signed up for a name on an electronic scoresheet. He chose \”Captain Comeback,\” an homage to his playing days as an NFL quarterback. And from there, everyone went to work.
When the fake smoke cleared and the game wrapped, it was revealed that Captain Comeback recorded more \”kills\” than anyone else in the party. Harbaugh won. Because he always wins. But upon further examination of where each person\’s shots came from, it became clear why he won in such a landslide.
\”All his shots came against this 10-year-old kid,\” laughs Eric Bakhtiari, who played for Harbaugh in college and in the NFL with the 49ers. \”He just sat there, hunting this 10-year-old kid so he could win.\” – Nick Baumgardner/MLive.com
\”But the best Harbaugh recruiting story comes from when the recruits and their families visit Palo Alto. The football administrators would lead them into the team meeting room. Suddenly, Harbaugh would appear, holding (no joke) a samurai sword and a shovel. \”With one hand we\’ll fight, and with the other we\’ll build!\” he\’d say.\” – Seth Wickersham/ESPN
\”In 2008, Arizona visited Stanford. One of the Wildcats\’ coaches had made a comment during the week that Stanford wasn\’t very physical. Few things will anger Harbaugh as much as questioning his toughness. So before kickoff, he told the team: \”There\’s gonna come a time in this game where we\’re going to line up in the same formation and run the same power play and dictate.\” As former Cardinal assistant Brian Polian remembers: \”He had so much resolve. You can say what you want about us, but you\’re going to question our toughness?\”
In the fourth quarter, down 23-17, Stanford took over. On 10 of 11 plays, the Cardinal called inside runs. On the last one, Toby Gerhart scored the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute left. It was one of the gutsiest and coolest things the staff had ever seen.\” – Seth Wickersham/ESPN
\”The stories of Harbaugh visiting homes on recruiting trips are legendary: How he would wear the same set of clothes every day during a week-long trip; how he would sometimes make house visits in sweatpants; how, according to Stanford assistant coach Ron Lynn, \”it was not beyond him to take off his shoes\” in a recruit\’s living room and ask for a spittoon.\” – Seth Wickersham/ESPN
\”At another time early in his coaching tenure, he wanted to show his players that he could do 100 push-ups in a row without stopping.
At first, he could only manage about 30. His players never thought he\’d make it. But every day, during stretching drills, Harbaugh was on the ground adding more push-ups to his total. He hit 60, then 80, then 100. But, of course, he didn\’t stop there.
He blew past 100, hit 110, and just to show off, started rotating between wide-gripped push-ups and narrow-gripped push-ups. The point? Nothing\’s impossible.\” – Nick Baumgardner/MLive.com
\”At the University of San Diego, where in three years he turned a joke of a program into a two-time Pioneer League champion, he ran hills with the players, sometimes pushing through his own vomit.\” – Seth Wickersham/ESPN
\”According to Wickersham, when Peyton Manning was a free agent in the summer of 2012, he paid a visit to the San Francisco 49ers to explore signing with them. Manning and Harbaugh were playing catch during the meeting when Harbaugh commented that \”his passes had more mustard on them\” than Manning\’s. Manning signed with the Denver Broncos that summer.\” – William Scott Davis/Business Insider
\”The first story comes from the gym, where Harbaugh \”would will himself\” to keep up with a very in-shape Baalke, matching his GM\’s pushup counts and bench press reps.
The second comes from the racquetball court, where Harbaugh, because of his age and beat-up NFL-weathered knees, shouldn\’t have been able to keep up with Baalke. When the two started playing, Harbaugh struggled. But eventually, he found a flaw in Baalke\’s game. And he relentlessly attacked it, finally beating the GM. \”He couldn\’t walk for two days after that,\” is how one witness described the fallout for the coach. Yet, he won, and that\’s what mattered.\” – Albert Breer/NFL.com
\”One time at Stanford, a recruit was set to meet Harbaugh. Only Harbaugh wasn\’t in his office. He was at a nearby basketball court, playing one-on-one against an assistant coach named D.J. Durkin, who is 15 years younger than his boss. The recruit stood and watched Harbaugh play basketball. And watched. And watched, as both guys battled and elbowed each other in the face and ribs. \”We had too much pride to call a foul,\” Durkin says. They played for two hours as the recruit waited, and waited, and finally left. Harbaugh won 7-6.\” – Seth Wickersham/ESPN
Jim Harbaugh is a crazy person. But he\’s also an amazing head coach and the perfect fit for Michigan football.
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