Jim Harbaugh: 'Before Bo congratulated me, he said...'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday January 29, 2013

You can take a coach out of the game, but not the game out of a coach.

When Jim Harbaugh got his first head coaching job, he made sure he called his coach at Michigan, the late Bo Schembechler. The first thing Schembechler said to his former player was a question about personnel.

"We have always believed in that, a tight end and a fullback," Harbaugh said. "When I got my first coaching job at the University of San Diego, I called my coach Bo Schembechler and told him that I was the coach at the University of San Diego. Before he said congratulations, he said, 'Jimmy, tell me you are going to have a tight end that puts his hand in that ground on every snap. Tell me that you are going to have a fullback that lines directly behind the quarterback, and a halfback in the I-formation.'

"'Yes, coach, we will have that.' 'Good, congratulations on getting your job.'"

Harbaugh was a three-year starting quarterback under Schembechler at Michigan, reaching the Fiesta Bowl in the 1985 season and the Rose Bowl in the 1986 season. Harbaugh was asked how much of a role model Schembechler was for him.

"Next to my dad, right on the same level as my dad is Bo Schembechler," Harbaugh said. "He is one of the greatest coaches to ever coach the game. I have also studied Woody Hayes quite extensively.

"I believe those two men, along with my dad, in my mind, young mind and old mind today, the three coaches that I try most to emulate."

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.

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