For those reading MGoBlog, the similarities between Jim Harbaugh and Bo Schembechler are well known, but when Rick Leach makes that comparison, it carries greater weight:
"So much (is similar) about their personalities and their makeup," Leach said. "I've already told some of my close friends that they are different people and I would never want to compare, but personality wise, the way they approach the game, their commitment, their drive."
Leach goes on to discuss his relationship with Jim, and how appreciative Jack and Jackie Harbaugh were for the time he spent with Jim while at Michigan. It is well worth the read.
The fact that players appreciate Harbaugh's coaching is no surprise either, but it's still nice to hear, especially when it's coming from one of Harbaugh's former players who has nothing to gain by praising him. San Francisco 49er Bruce Miller has this to say of Harbaugh:
Jim Harbaugh is my favorite coach that I’ve ever had, and I thrived under his leadership. He was an outstanding teacher with an unrivaled knowledge of the game. He brought energy that most coaches just don’t have, and really knew how to get the most out of his players.
Coach Harbaugh lives and breathes football. He loved football so much that he simply couldn’t contain himself or hold it in. In meetings and at practice, he was exactly the way he appeared on the sidelines as games — full of emotion and intensity. He set the tone for the entire team, and the expectation that every player would be equally as focused.
Miller wrote the article himself, and focuses primarily on the NFL Combine and the strategy he took to earn a contract as a late round draftee, but near the end does talk about Harbaugh.
In 1992, Bo Schembechler toured the new Michigan Athletic Museum inside Schembechler Hall. The museum would later be renamed the Margaret DowTowsley Sports Museum. While the museum no longer exists, some of the memorabilia now resides inside the new Schembechler Hall Museum in Ann Arbor.
I wish we still had such a museum where we could see all the accomplishments of every sports team. The new Towsley Museum is nice, but it's kind of small (they don't even have all our bowl trophies on display) and only for football.
I found this great article written by Mitch Albom prior to the 1986 Rose Bowl game regarding some of the exchanges with Schembechler and Harbaugh.
Wanted to share.
Some of the anecdotes I had read about before. A few others I did not know.
Check it out here:
And there it is, the completion of the circle. Idol, hero, mentor, tormentor enemy, teacher, friend.
He wants to be his friend.
"You know, he reams you out, but sometimes lately when it's happened, I'm thinking, 'God, this is what it's all about. Me and Bo, we're fighting together, we're both on the same sideline, we both want the same thing.
"And I say to myself, 'You know, I'm gonna miss this."
And so, says Schembechler, will he. Graduation takes the best of his players every four seasons. He has seen other special quarterbacks come and go. Dennis Franklin. Rick Leach. John Wangler.
"I am going to miss this kid (Harbaugh) a lot," he says. "He is the best passing quarterback I've ever had. And I've never felt as confident with anybody out there as I do with him.
"I know I yelled at him, I was on his case. But remember, I've known this kid since he was this big. I knew exactly who I was dealing with and what I was doing."
"And did he turn out the way you figured?" someone asks.
"Better than I ever expected."
And Jim Harbaugh grins too -- a huge grin -- a grin which hooks from today back to that practice field 14 years ago, where he fled the angry whistle of the man he would come to admire.