BUCKING THE TREND
Michigan's 52-year-old coach, who signed the nation's top recruit (page 86), credits his enthusiasm—and his khakis—to his dad.
DAN PATRICK:Are those game-day Michigan khakis? Would you wear those on game day?
JIM HARBAUGH: These are not game-day khakis. [Laughs.] They're fancy khakis.
DP:How amazing is it that your wardrobe took off?
JH: Well, most college coaches wear khakis, sooo....
DP:I know, but what does that say about us that we're fascinated by your clothes or by your lack of style?
JH: I think that [my style] was the big one. People like to make fun of me because I tuck in my sweatshirts.
DP:Did your dad [Jack] do that when he coached [college football]?
JH: Uhhh, I don't know ... probably. I think from the late '90s to the first of the 2000s everybody had their shirts untucked. It was cool to be untucked. I just figured I would go the opposite way.
DP:Your dad was intense and priceless when he came here [to The Dan Patrick Show]. Was he like that at home [when you were a kid]?
JH: Yeah. Both parents made everything exciting. Everything was fun and enthusiastic. We'd get dropped off at school, my brother [John] and I, and my dad would say, "GRAB YOUR LUNCHES! ATTACK THIS DAY WITH AN ENTHUSIASM UNKNOWN TO MANKIND!" And then he'd say, "And don't take any wooden nickels!" Then off we'd go. [Laughs.]
DP:How old were you? Five?
JH: I was in first grade. John was in third grade. [Laughs.]
DP:Did he turn you into you?
JH: Yeah, in so many ways. I've always done exactly what he's told me, exactly how he told me to do it, over and over and over, and I keep having success as a result. It just seems like a good template, so I'm going to stay with it.
DP:Any differences between the way you played quarterback and the way you coach?
JH: Sure. Playing, you're physically competing. Coaching, you're an adviser. It's more like a teacher. You're telling people what to do, how to do it and demonstrating it. Then you let them do it, then tell them what they did right and what they could do better. Then you let them do it again. [As a coach] you're not the rock star; you're kind of the roadie.
DP:How did you get Derek Jeter and Tom Brady to come in [for National Signing Day]?
JH: Jeter is from Kalamazoo, Mich. We wanted something that was going to be a [Michigan] celebration. We had Tom Brady and Jake Ryan, former Michigan players, plus [WWE wrestler] Ric Flair. There was a celebrity atmosphere, sure, but I thought everything that was Michigan was also on display.
Former NFL QB Ryan Leaf, who was released from prison in December 2014 after serving two years for burglary and drug charges, told me he sees a lot of himself in Johnny Manziel. "It feels like I'm holding up a mirror," Leaf said. "When I hear some of his stories, I go, Oh, my God! I did that." ... Warriors point guard Steph Curry joked about how coach Steve Kerr still gets angry during timeouts. "I shouldn't be laughing," said Curry. "But we're 46--4 and our coach is breaking white boards in the huddle. I guess things are never too good." ... Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said his recent groin injury was worse than he originally thought. "I had a lot done. I actually have six incisions, so there's a lot going on down there. It's not good down there at all right now."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
G FIUME/MARYLAND TERRAPINS/GETTY IMAGES (HARBAUGH)
TIM MOSENFELDER/GETTY IMAGES (WATT)
RICH POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR ROLLING STONE (CURRY)
DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP (LEAF)