National reaction to Harbaugh hiring, press conference
Reaction from writers and analysts from around the country to Jim Harbaugh's hiring and Tuesday's press conference:
Adam Rittenberg, ESPN: No American football conglomerate reveres its history and tradition like the Big Ten. No institution within the Big Ten reveres its history and tradition like Michigan. Some would call Michigan the most storied program in the most storied league. Others would call Michigan the biggest has-been program in the ultimate has-been league. Both positions can be supported and justified (although the latter carries more weight in recent years). Michigan's hiring of Jim Harbaugh pleases both camps.
Desmond Howard, ESPN (former Michigan receiver): It's a big day for Michigan football, a huge day for the program. He was really coveted as a coach in the NFL; he had a lot of suitors. He was the top recruit this offseason, ao you have to give Jim Hackett a lot of credit. I thought Jim Harbaugh handled the press conference very well. It's a huge moment for that football program.
Mack Brown, ESPN (former Texas coach): I thought he did a great job. He pulled the family back together. The Michigan family is all in today. ... I thought it was a classy move to brag on Brady Hoke because Brady Hoke did a great job in so many areas. They just have to win more football games. ... Jim will be on the phone with recruits today.
Tom Dienhart, Big Ten Network: The hiring of Jim Harbaugh at Michigan will resonate throughout college football. Can you feel it? This is big. This is huge. This is a game-changer that threatens the power structure of the Big Ten. A power structure and food chain that currently has Ohio State on top with Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska buzzing near the summit. Now, Michigan is in hot pursuit of access behind the velvet rope to the league penthouse.
Gerry DiNardo, Big Ten Network: Of all the rock star coaches that have been hired in recent years, Jim will have the biggest challenge, relative to Nick (Saban) and Urban (Meyer).
Dennis Dodd, CBS Sports: This Jim Harbaugh thing goes way beyond Michigan, if you haven't noticed. He's national, no longer just the stuffy NFL. That impish, spit-eating grin -- that hell-with-everything attitude -- has a new/old collegiate home. Pardon Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany if he high-fives the league's accountants. Delany's league -- maybe all of college football -- just got a whole lot more interesting.
Ralph D. Russo, Associated Press: Michigan needed a game-changer. A coach who could restore the shine to one of the college football's jewels. The Wolverines needed their Nick Saban, who pulled Alabama from the muck of mediocrity and made the Crimson Tide champions again. Jim Harbaugh could be that man for Michigan.
Dan Murphy, ESPN: Two of Schembechler's former players, interim athletic director Jim Hackett and new coach Jim Harbaugh, give current-day Michigan its best chance to build on the program's rich history without being crushed by it. Along with a new university president, Hackett and Harbaugh provide a promising leadership group. All three are competent in their jobs and confident enough in their own skin not to try to encroach on the others' roles.
Mitch Sherman, ESPN: In the recruiting world, Michigan hit a home run with its coaching hire. A grand slam, in fact. The impact nationally of Harbaugh's jump from the NFL to the Big Ten mirrors the moves of Nick Saban to Alabama in 2007 and Urban Meyer to Ohio State three years ago. It creates the biggest recruiting splash of the year. And really, with respect to nice-looking hires at Florida, Wisconsin and Nebraska, it's not even close. Harbaugh means that much to his alma mater.
Brian Bennett, ESPN: Jim Harbaugh is returning to college from the NFL ranks just as Pete Carroll, Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino, Steve Spurrier and others once did. But there's one key difference here. Unlike those guys, who mostly failed at the next level before running back to campus, Harbaugh remains in high demand in the pro ranks. He's a proven winner there. So NFL teams will surely come calling again in the future. In fact, Michigan fans might have to prepare for near-annual Harbaugh-to-the-NFL rumors, and eventually some pro team with a highly favorable situation could lure him away.