Harbaugh Weekly: `Coolest dude' lures Irish recruit. And wears Woody Hayes glasses to see `worst call.'

Jim Harbaugh not only picked up a nice recruit when Donovan Jeter, a four-star defensive end from Beaver Falls, Pa., backed out of his commitment to Notre Dame and switched to Michigan.

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Harbaugh also picked up some nice compliments. At Brian Kelly’s expense.

Harbaugh ``might be the coolest dude I ever met in my life,’’ Jeter told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. ``He doesn’t act like he’s important. . . .He’s real down to earth and humble. He’s easy to talk to. Talking to Brian Kelly wasn’t fun. It wasn’t cool. You have to make an appointment just to go to his office. Coach Harbaugh has an open-door policy. Every one of Michigan’s coaches has an open-door policy.’’[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Harbaugh also wowed Jeter by picking up him and some other recruits at midnight Saturday from a campus event with current Michigan players.

``He picked us up in a van to take us back to the hotel,’’ Jeter said. ``What other head coach would come and pick up recruits at midnight in a van?’’

Jeter chose Notre Dame in September after visiting there. But he changed his mind and committed to Michigan after visiting Ann Arbor more recently. The Wolverines’ success and ND’s disappointing campaign this fall did not go unnoticed.

``I started thinking, `Michigan is undefeated and Notre Dame is 2-5,’ ’’ Jeter said, adding that this decision is final: ``I’m done. I can’t put myself through this again.’’

Jeter later tweeted an apology to Kelly and ND, saying, ``I wanna apologize about the comments made about Brian Kelly.. he did nothing but offer me a chance to play great and get a great education.’’

At least the Irish coach has that going for him.


Maybe you saw Harbaugh sporting a new look on the sidelines of the Illinois game on Saturday. He’s now wearing old-school glasses.

``This style in particular is a tip of the cap—a nod to Woody Hayes, to Michael Douglas in the movie "Falling Down" and also a tip of the cap to Malcolm X,’’ Harbaugh said. ``[It’s] in honor of those three men.’’

Harbaugh is one of the few people who can say something like, and make it real.

The glasses also are similar to the eyewear worn by Vince Lombardi. Younger folks won’t remember that. But I always got a kick out of Lombardi and George Halas coaching in suits and overcoats when I was a kid.

No headphones in those days. They’d just pace around with rolled-up papers, yelling at referees and players.

Maybe that’ll be Harbaugh’s next deal. Coach in a suit and a fedora. I’m sure Men’s Wearhouse would be happy to sign up for that.


Maybe it was because it was the first meeting between college coaches who both had been head coaches in Super Bowls. Harbaugh, who led the 49ers to the NFL’s ultimate game, was lined up against Illini coach Lovie Smith, who coached the Bears to a Super Bowl.

Then again. . . nah.

Harbaugh was challenging a third-down spot with two minutes to go in the Wolverines’ 41-8 rout of Illinois on Saturday because that’s who he is.

And he was still fired up about it at his Monday media get-together.

``I have never seen a worse call in the game of football,’’ he said.

When someone said the officials might have let it go because the outcome wasn't exactly in doubt, Harbaugh said: “Is that in the rulebook? I haven’t come across that rule, either.”

I’m not going to suggest that Harbaugh was doing anything other than being Harbaugh, which is coaching to the final gun.

It should be noted, though, that Michigan needed another touchdown to cover the point spread. I have no evidence that coaches are aware of point spreads. But when I have paid attention to that sort of thing, I’ve noticed that really good coaches tend to take care of their fans in that regard.

Coincidence? I have no idea. I'm sure some enterprising graduate student will find a way to write a dissertation on that. Wouldn't surprise me if someone already has.[/membership]