October 31, 11:15 AM EST - Ann Arbor, MI
On Sunday, October 31st, 2010, a day after the Wolverines lost to Penn State, University of Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon contacted current Stanford Head Coach and former University of Michigan Quarterback, Jim Harbaugh, in order to discuss any interest that Harbaugh may have in becoming the next head coach of the Wolverines. Below is a transcript of the conversation in it's entirety.
Brandon: Jim, good morning. It's David Brandon from the University of Michigan Athletic Department. How are you?
Harbaugh: I'm doing fine, how are you?
Brandon: Well Jim, I have to tell you, I've been better. It's kind of the reason I'm calling today.
Harbaugh: I assumed, tough loss last night.
Brandon: It was,. You've been keeping an eye on your Almamater have you?
Harbaugh: Always, Michigan will always be a special place for me. A lot of memories there.
Brandon: It's good to hear you say that. So Jim, obviously you're aware that our team has not been performing well on the field the past few years. The alumni are certainly up in arms about that fact, and I personally am getting to the point where I feel I am going to have to make some serious decisions concerning the direction of the program.
Harbaugh: I expected that if this season didn't go well. But at least they're fun to watch.
Brandon: Yes, well, we'd really like it if they were a little more fun to watch. A Big Ten win here and there would just be swell. Ultimately, I'm losing faith in the idea that Rich [Rodriguez] is going to be able to right the ship, and I wanted to gauge your level of interest in the head coaching position should I need to make a move.
Harbaugh: Well, I have to tell you, I'm pretty happy here at Stanford. And obviously I've made a commitment to this team and these players that I am certainly not willing to walk away from, especially given how well we've performed and our chances of making it to a BCS bowl this year.
Brandon: I would expect nothing less from you. But after this season, obviously you've heard the rumors, what would it take to get you to come back to Michigan?
Harbaugh: Well, Dave. I have to be honest with you, our history over the past few years hasn't been very good. Obviously, I made some comments that seemed to have ruffled some feathers there in Ann Arbor, but I want you to know that I stand by what I said and I still believe to this day that there is an issue with the system trying to make things easier for players at Michigan. I’ve always believed that Michigan held themselves to a higher standard. And quite honestly, it’s something I simply do not need to be concerned with here at Stanford. Our students are just that, student’s first, athletes second. Yet, we still find a way to win.
Brandon: I understand where you are coming from, and that’s an important part of why I’m calling you and no one else. Because aside from being a great coach, I think your passion for this University, and your desire to see it succeed with integrity, is just what our program needs right now. In addition, it would be a perfect opportunity for you to build the program based on the principles your comments were based upon.
Harbaugh: I don’t know...there are certainly some strained ties with many of the people still within the athletic department as a result of that incident. And we haven’t even talked about the current state of the team and what it would take to get Michigan back to prominence. I mean you'd have to admit, it certainly seems as though the cupboard is a bit bare in terms of talent. I don’t know if Vince Lombardi could fix some of the problems you have on that Defense. It would be a monumental task to turn that team around quick enough to make people happy. And last I heard, the fans up there were ready to hang Rodriguez off a building. Doesn't sound like a very appealing environment compared to what I've got here.
Brandon: I’m not saying you wouldn’t have a difficult task ahead of you coming here, but I can’t think of a better person for the job. As far as I’m concerned, you’re the ONLY person I want to see in the position. We need a Michigan Man at the helm once again. Someone who was close to Bo and knows what it means to be a part of this University. Someone who not only knows about the history of this school and it's football program, but someone WHO IS ALREADY A PART of the history of this school and it's football program.
Harbaugh: So what makes this time around any different than 2007 when the University was looking for a coach?
Brandon: The fact that you haven't bad mouthed the University in some time is a starter, and obviously you've proven yourself as a head coach these past few years by turning a fairly inept football program into one of the best in the country. What can I say? You're a hot commodity right now, and I know a lot of other people are going to be making a call similar to this one in the next couple of months, if they haven't already.
Harbaugh: Well, I really need to think about it. I have my team right where I want them to be. I've put a lot of time, effort, and determination in to getting Stanford to this point, and I think we’re going to make a serious push for a BSC game and a top 10 ranking nationally. That is my priority as it stands right now.
Brandon: So, if I’m reading between the lines, and you had to make a decision based on our conversation today, I’m hearing that you would definitely be interested in the position, but you wouldn’t be wiling to make a final decision until the end of the season?
Harbaugh: I’m interested, but why don’t you give me a call after you speak with Les.
Brandon: Sounds good Jim, do you have his number?
Harbaugh: [click], dial tone.