When Stanford hired Jim Harbaugh for the 2007 season, the move was hardly considered a stroke of genius. It was hardly even the biggest coaching move of the year.
That year, Nick Saban was hired at Alabama, Butch Davis returned to the college game at North Carolina, Dennis Erickson returned to a big-time program at Arizona State.
Move forward eight seasons, and hardly a day seems to go by when now-Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh isn’t in the news for one reason or another. He hasn’t coached a game at his alma mater, but he’s already shaken up the Big Ten and national scene.
Will a championship follow? Perhaps. Harbaugh has already won the title for Summer 2015. Here’s how:
April 24: Harbaugh vs. the SEC
In the absence of (actual) conference realignment drama or a controversial Heisman-winning quarterback, the biggest ongoing news story of the summer months surrounded satellite camps.
Big Ten coaches, starting with Penn State’s James Franklin, had poked this bear before, conducting camps for high school athletes in SEC territory. Harbaugh, though, became the focal point this summer, inviting two coaches from “every football playing college in AMERICA” to Exposure U in Ann Arbor.
Harbaugh invited coaches restricted from working a camp outside of a 50-mile radius — i.e. SEC and ACC coaches — to serve as a keynote speaker.
May 15: Harbaugh demonstrates proper inflation
We’re sure this is all in good fun and not a shot at a fellow Michigan quarterback who happens to be a four-time Super Bowl champ and the center of Deflategate.
Either way, Harbaugh tweaked the Patriots and Tom Brady with this tweet from his annual mission trip to Peru.
June 5: Harbaugh goes shirtless
Once Harbaugh actually got around to hosting his satellite camp in the backyard of Alabama and Auburn at Prattville High outside of Montgomery, he ensured the moment went viral.
On the hot June afternoon, Harbaugh ditched his long sleeve Michigan T-shirt and joined the high schoolers in a made-up game of Peru Ball.
June 8: Paul Finebaum? Never Heard of Him
There’s not a ton of reason for the Michigan coach and ex-Wolverines QB who spent his entire head coaching career in the state of California should know much of anything about Paul Finebaum.
Nonetheless, the exchange between an Alabama high school coach and a perplexed Harbaugh regarding the nationally syndicated voice of Southern sports is another reminder Harbaugh lives in a different world than the rest of us.
June 17: Jim Harbaugh’s America
Not surprisingly, no SEC coaches took up Harbaugh’s offer to serve as keynote speaker at Exposure U. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, though, did.
At the event, USA Today’s George Schroeder got this gem of a quote:
“In my America, you’re allowed to cross state borders. That’s the America I know.”
June 20: Lil Wayne is a fan
Michigan managed to get a signed jersey in the hands of Lil Wayne, which can never be a bad thing in recruiting.
July 1: An interview gone wrong
Anyone who has ever interview Jim Harbaugh knows the process can be a mixed bag. He can be golden — see the “in my America” quote — or he can be completely disinterested, as he was on national radio with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd.