Harbaugh opens up about childhood, UM in article

Posted at 11:41 AM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-01 15:23:07-05

Michigan Football Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is opening about his childhood and why he loves Michigan and Ann Arbor in an article on The Players' Tribune.

Published on Monday and titled, "Who's Got It Better Than Us?" Harbaugh first discusses his childhood and growing up always having fun or competing.

Harbaugh talks about how they didn't have much money and didn't have a car of their own, so they used an extra dealer car from a local Ann Arbor car dealer as part of a deal for Michigan coaches.

"Sometimes my dad, brother and I would walk outside and the car would be in the driveway. Other times, if my mom was out, it wasn’t. 'Hey Dad, where’s the car?'" Harbaugh wrote. "'No car today, guys. We’re walking … Grab a basketball: 100 with the right, 100 with the left. Let’s go!' So we’d dribble down the sidewalk, dad leading the way, yelling: “Who’s got it better than us?!” Me and my brother trailing behind, chanting: 'No-body!'"

He said both his parents were like that, and his mom would do the same thing if they had to walk. "They made everything exciting growing up. Even not having a car," he wrote.

Another instance of competition is when he and his brother John would race upstairs to grab their dad something.

"He would time us. Every time. It was like the world record was on the line," he said. "My brother and I wanted that world record, so we'd run upstairs as fast as we could to see who could get back to my dad first."

Next, Harbaugh discussed how life was like growing up in Ann Arbor. One of the things he wrote about was how his dad and his dad's friends always had them working.

"Growing up in Ann Arbor, all my dad’s friends were coaches. I remember Tom Minick, who was my first football coach. He was also the Sheriff of Washtenaw County. A real man’s man. Us kids would ask him, 'What are we doing today?' And he’d pull out a jack-hammer and say, 'We’re jack-hammerin’ this driveway, and you kids are gonna pick up the rocks and put them in that truck over there.'Then he’d get to working the jack-hammer," Harbaugh said.

He also discussed cutting the grass, learning how to catch a fly ball from his neighbor, and learning from those around him.

Finally, Harbaugh talked about how he's moved many times in his life, including moving to Ann Arbor three times. The first was when his dad took a coaching job under Bo Schembechler, the second was when he came back to play football at U-M and the third was when he took the head coaching job.

"I’ve talked to a lot of people who feel that way about Michigan — and I’ve talked to a lot of other people who feel that way about their college, too. It happens everywhere. You probably feel that way about where you went to college," Harbaugh wrote. "But in my unscientific surveying of people I’ve talked to, I feel that it happens the most here at Michigan. Which is why finally, I moved to Ann Arbor a third time. To be the head football coach,"

He wrote that a lot of people ask why he decided to move back to Ann Arbor. He said it's pretty simple.

"I love football. I love coaching. I love Michigan. And for me, there's no better place for those three things than right here in Ann Arbor," he said.

Now, he wrote, seeing his kids going to the same schools he went to and doing the same things he did as a kid, "feels good."

"A lot of people probably have those kinds of memories from the places they grew up. I have my fondest here in Ann Arbor, the place I stayed the longest as a kid and that left the biggest impact on me. I have so much gratitude to the University of Michigan and to the people I’ve met who’ve shaped how I think in a very positive way. I can’t think of any place in the world I’d rather be.

Who’s got it better than us?

No-body," he finished writing.

Read the entire Players' Tribune article here