Jim Harbaugh discusses having to watch Michigan vs. East Carolina on television
For the seasoned Michigan football coach, Jim Harbaugh, the 2023 season opener against East Carolina marked a different kind of football Saturday. Barred from the usual sideline pacing and the energy of Michigan Stadium due to a three-game, self-imposed suspension, Harbaugh, alongside his also-suspended offensive coordinator, Sherrone Moore, found himself watching his Wolverines dominate the Pirates from Moore's living room.
What did Jim Harbaugh say?
Sandwiches, family, and a 30-3 victory made for a positive afternoon, but the sentiment of being absent from the action, the pre-game pep talks, and the player energy, must've felt outlandishly surreal for Harbaugh. Regardless, the coach was adamant about prioritizing his team's needs over his own sentiments.
“We had a good time,” Harbaugh said Monday in Ann Arbor. “It was excellent.”
“I mean, I was up early, I get up when I get up, ya know? Doing all the things I normally do before a game, thinking a lot about it,” Harbaugh said when asked to elaborate on a football Saturday unlike any he has ever had. “That's what it was like. Then watched it unfold.”
“It was what it was,” Harbaugh said. “Do the absolute best you can to turn a negative into a positive. That's just how I think about it, just what I do, put the needs of the players, the coaches the team before my own.”
Touched by a Gesture
And even though he wasn't physically there, his presence was unmistakably felt. Players donned Harbaugh jersey T-shirts and even orchestrated a play symbolic of Harbaugh’s college number.
“I just felt the love from them just doing them,” Harbaugh said. “I could see it in our players. I could see it in our coaches. And that’s what I want them to do — I want them to do them. ‘Be you’ is the way we say around here. I saw them having fun.”
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Jim Harbaugh and Sherrone Moore, both serving suspensions, watched Michigan's opener against East Carolina from Moore's home.
- Despite his physical absence, Michigan players showcased their solidarity for Harbaugh with symbolic gestures during the game.
- Harbaugh emphasizes the principle of being oneself, a sentiment echoed on the field and off it.
Bottom Line: The Impact of Leadership's Physical Absence
Leadership isn't always about physical presence; it's often the values, principles, and teachings instilled over time that matter most. Harbaugh, who has dedicated blood, sweat, and tears to bring Michigan to its peak, may not have been physically present at the stadium, but his teachings and leadership shone bright. Players, despite absence of their coach, rallied together, showcasing the power of collective leadership. Harbaugh's echoing principle of “Be you” became more than just a motto; it transformed into an on-field reality, further cemented by the players' symbolic gestures and sheer performance.