On Dec. 30, 2014, Jim Harbaugh, son of former college football coach Jack Harbaugh and brother of current Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, was announced as the new head coach of the University of Michigan football team. Michigan gains the expertise of a man who turned around Stanford University’s football team to the tune of a 12-win season with an Orange Bowl win while being given the Woody Hayes Coach of the Year Award. Following his time at Stanford, Harbaugh took the NFL by storm by leading the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII before losing to his brother’s Ravens team. But not only does Michigan bring home this man who lead U-M as quarterback from 1983-1986, they bring in a brand and an attitude that will turn the team around.
We no longer live in Ann Arbor, but rather we reside in “Ann Arbaugh”. We no longer tailgate on the golf course or in the parking lot on Saturdays wearing simply maize and blue, but rather our maize, blue, and our khaki pants. We did not just welcome an alumnus back home, but we also brought back an attitude, an arrogance, and a Michigan Man. The Wolverine faithful were not “all-in” for Rich Rodriguez years ago, and did not agree with Brady Hoke’s idea that “this is Michigan, for God’s sake” means we should go 5-7.
While I believe Harbaugh will have great success, I believe the Michigan faithful must tone down their attachment to him. At the introductory press conference held for Harbaugh, it was clear that many people view him as the “Messiah” or savior of the program. Harbaugh laughed off the idea and was clear in saying, “I am not comfortable with that at all.” Michigan fans should be more than delighted with the performance of interim athletic director Jim Hackett in landing such an accomplished coach; however, they should save some of this happiness for results on the field.
Having been a Michigan fan all my life, and having been born right after Michigan won its last National Championship, I, and many of us here at Pioneer, have missed out on watching Michigan fulfill the promise of its winning history. As I narrow in on deciding where to go to college next year and look to U-M, I am intrigued by the fact that it is entering a new era. No doubt college is about the degree you leave with and the knowledge that has filled your mind, but there is something to be said for the “experience,” and in Ann Arbor, football is a huge part of that.
Before the new year, Michigan fans were “Harbaugh Flight Tracking” more intensely than seven-year-old kids track Santa Claus’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, and they couldn’t be happier then when they actually got to see him land. A new year, a new season, a new coach, and a new Michigan awaits.