Ann Arbor – It was Michigan's Big Ten basketball opener, but that was just a vehicle for a bigger moment for the school's athletics program.
Michigan played Illinois on Tuesday afternoon, but Crisler Center was filled in anticipation of the halftime introduction of new football coach Jim Harbaugh. The Maize Rage made it a "Khaki Out" in honor of Harbaugh, who wears khaki pants on the sideline.
Harbaugh was formally introduced at a Tuesday news conference.
The lights were lowered at halftime, and a hype video showing highlights of Harbaugh from his playing days appeared on the scoreboard.
Harbaugh emerged to deafening cheers.
His voice hoarse – he said earlier it was because of a Gatorade shower after his final game Sunday as the San Francisco 49ers coach – he waved to the crowd and thanked the fans for their "enthusiasm and support."
"I pledge to you we will do our very best to carry on the great tradition of Michigan -- excellence, all across the board," Harbaugh said. "This is a team effort. It's the alumni, it's the students, it's the student-athletes."
As he concluded, a fan yelled to him, "I love you!"
Harbaugh responded: "And I love you, too!"
New Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh addresses fans during halftime of the UM vs. Illinois basketball game in Ann Arbor.