Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh – Overcame issues off the field knowing “we’re innocent”
HOUSTON — After leading Michigan to the national championship and a 15-0 record amid a tumultuous season in which he was suspended twice, coach Jim Harbaugh said it “couldn’t have gone better.”
Despite a three-game suspension to open the season following an NCAA investigation into alleged recruiting violations in 2020, which was followed by a sign-stealing scandal and the subsequent firing of employee Connor Stallions that resulted in another three-game suspension, Harbaugh said the Wolverines are not shaken. never.
“It went exactly the way we wanted things to go to win every game,” Harbaugh said Monday night after No. 1 Michigan beat No. 2 Washington 34-13. “Regarding the issues off the field, we are innocent and we stood strong and tall because we knew we were innocent. I would like to point that out.
“These men are innocent. Overcoming that…it wasn’t that hard because we knew we were innocent.”
Harbaugh talked about how important it was to him to “check the bigger box” in getting Michigan back to the top of college football. He was then asked if he was making a list, and if winning the Super Bowl would be another goal, a reference to ongoing speculation about interest from NFL teams.
“I just want to enjoy this,” Harbaugh said. “I just want to enjoy this. I wish you could give me that. Can anyone have that? Does it always have to be what’s next, what’s the future? Like I said the other day, yes, I hope I have a future. I hope there is Tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.”
For his part, Michigan athletic director Ward Manuel said he understands “why people in the pros would want to hire Jim Harbaugh and talk to him about being a coach.”
“The guy went to the Super Bowl, won the conference championship… and came back to the conference championship in that league.
“If I was in the pros, I would love to talk to him because of what he’s accomplished. However, I’m not in the pros and I want to keep him (our coach), and that’s a cross I have to bear. But I’m proud that Jim is our coach.”
Harbaugh, whose father Jack coached for Bo Schembechler before Jim Harbaugh played for him at quarterback, said being a “Michigan guy” leading the Wolverines to the title made him “very proud.”
“One day, when they throw dirt on me, if someone compliments me…if he simply says, ‘He was a Michigan man,’ that will mean everything. It will mean everything to me.”
He said he promised his players that if they won 15-0, he would get his first tattoo. He said his plan was to have a maize-and-blue M block, where the M also represents the Roman numeral for 1,000, something special to him as Michigan became the first football program to win 1,000 games.
“No high school has been able to achieve a thousand wins. No other college has been able to achieve a thousand wins. No other professional team has been able to achieve a thousand wins,” Harbaugh said. “University of Michigan. A thousand wins and a national championship in the same year doesn’t get much better than that. I would really ask you that.”
“Who could be better than us? Nobody.”
ESPN’s Pete Thamel contributed to this report.