Former U-M QB Rick Leach: Jim Harbaugh is a ‘reincarnation of Bo Schembechler’

If there’s a former Michigan Wolverines football player who knows the program inside and out, former quarterback Rick Leach would fit the bill.

Leach was under center for the Wolverines from 1975-78, throwing for 4,045 yards in his career, good for 10th in school history. His 49 passing touchdowns is also 5th in the 127-year history of Michigan football. Leach also played under legendary U-M head coach, the late great Bo Schembechler.

Leach, also a 10-year veteran of Major League Baseball from 1981-90, recently spoke at a youth baseball camp in Davison, Michigan of his former head coach and current Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh and the similarities between the two. Not only does he rave of what Harbaugh is doing for the program and college football, he seems a little bit of Bo in Jim as well.

“I said if there’s ever a reincarnation of Bo Schembechler, to me, it’s Jim Harbaugh,” Leach said at Wednesday’s 35th annual OC Davison Baseball Camp. “I think he’s even taking it to a different level.

“Could I see Bo Schembechler doing 38 camps in 30 days around the country to teach kids and to promote Michigan in football? No.”

Harbaugh of course was just a tyke when Leach was taking snaps for the maize and blue and while his father Jack Harbaugh was a coach on the staff. Leach sees the comparisons, to say the least.

“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 is just one of countless people, former players especially, who have been touched by the words of wisdom and endless teaching of the game from Bo. No surprise he sees a spinning image of Bo in Coach Harbaugh, and he becomes the latest Michigan alum to proudly speak of the work Harbaugh is doing to restore the pride of Michigan football.

While at the baseball camp, Leach spoke briefly about Schembechler and something he taught Rick and his U-M teammates and tried to instill that into the young athletes at the camp.

“As (former Michigan football coach) Bo Schembechler and many other influential people have told me, ‘you can only keep what you have by giving it away,'” he added. “I think most athletes that have had some success feel that they were blessed and given opportunity.”