Regner: For Harbaugh, Michigan isn’t just college job

From what has been reported, it appears that Jim Harbaugh is Michigan's only candidate.

Kirby Lee

For well over a month I have been constantly asked to give a percentage of the likelihood that Jim Harbaugh will return to Ann  Arbor as Michigan’s head football coach and my response is always the same: one hundred percent.

As in 100% he’s coming, or 100% he’s not.

Honestly, it’s the only answer to give.   

And if, or when, Jim Harbaugh accepts the job it will be because he lives his life with a sense of purpose, that in part was shaped by Bo Schembechler and the University of Michigan.

From what has been reported, it appears that Harbaugh is Michigan’s only candidate. Once his contract details were reported, the list of names of potential Michigan coaching candidates has essentially dried up.

Sure you hear a name or two bandied about, but mostly you hear the NFL insiders saying there’s no way Harbaugh would abandon the "SHIELD" for a college job.

Michigan is not a college job to Jim Harbaugh. As difficult as it is for many on the outside to believe this, it’s pretty simple to see what Michigan means to Harbaugh during a speech he gave in Ann Arbor several years ago at a players reunion celebrating Michigan football.

Harbaugh told of conversations he had as a player with coach Jerry Hanlon as the start of the football season was approaching. He asked Hanlon if Michigan was going to have a good team that year.

Hanlon replied, "Ask me that question in 20 years."

A puzzled Harbaugh responded, "Twenty years?"

"In 20 years we’ll know what kind of husbands, fathers, and citizens you’ve become, that’s when we’ll know if we had a good football team," said Hanlon.

That is what Michigan football is all about to Harbaugh.

At this reunion, Harbaugh introduced "the greatest coach ever" asking Bo Schembechler to stand and receive the applause from "these men of Michigan."

Certainly, many of you may be thinking that this is Maize and Blue propaganda or just plain cornball. Think what you will, but remember this: Harbaugh believes this — hook, line and sinker.

So, amid the chatter of his desire to win a Super Bowl, his passion of competing against his brother John, and his yearning of coaching football at its highest level, remember this: If or when Harbaugh has his press conference in Ann Arbor this week, his main reasons will not be about money or winning football games. He can do that that in the NFL.

It will be because he’s a man deeply rooted in family and faith, and feels now is the time to give to back to the place that set the foundation of the life he has today.