Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he wasn’t trying to tweak Ohio State fans when he recently tweeted a photo of legendary OSU coach wearing a Michigan hat.
Harbaugh, speaking Tuesday afternoon to the Russillo and Kanell show on ESPN Radio, said he considers Hayes one of this coaching idols. Harbaugh appeared on several national radio shows to promote his online commercial with Planters.
He explained, when it was suggested he was trying to stir things up with Ohio State fans, that he posted the photo for historical purposes. He tweeted March 9: “Unairbrushed evidence has been uncovered that confirms Woody’s love & strong feelings for the University of Michigan.”
“First of all, you’ve got to understand, Woody Hayes is one of my top three favorite coaches of all time,” Harbaugh told the show. “Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes, Bear Bryant, those are my three favorites of all time.
“I’ve read all the books (Hayes) wrote. I try to emulate him, I really do in so many ways. I think he’s just one of the greatest of all time. I came across the the pictures recently of Woody in an M hat, and I thought it was pretty cool and tweeted it out. More collegial than anything. It’s been a great rivalry. I know Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler respected it as do I.”
Here are a few highlights from the interview:
On relating to his players: “I enjoy seeing people have success and being a small part of that and watching them work for it. You can have anything in the world if you put in the work. I enjoy being part of that team process as a coach. The other thing we do is we feed ‘em. We make sure nobody is hungry. I think people like you when you give them food. (laughs). It’s been a good thing for our football team to eat well. Our guys eat well. If that makes me a players’ coach, then so be it.”
On the Planters commercial where he yells at the machine: “It’s paying off, for the first time in my life, having a really loud voice. It got me in trouble as a kid but now it’s paying off. I guess it did when I was a pro quarterback, too. Having a loud voice in an opposing stadium and it helps in coaching too. So I guess it’s paying off in those ways. Grab a handful and get some protein. Protein is good for football. It makes you strong.”
On his brother John’s version of a pickup basketball game last May: “Channel ‘Wedding Crashers’. You’ve got the family football game on the lawn. That’s kinda what it’s been like through the years. I think he’s exaggerating a little bit. It was a team effort.”
On whether he asked John, ‘Did you win anything today?’ after winning the pickup game: “I did not say that to him, no. It was his opportunity to get in the point he beat me in the Super Bowl. That was noted. Again, it’s been noted. He does it in a subtle way – ‘He beat me in the pickup basketball game last summer, but I beat him him I the Super Bowl. He’s very subtle that way.”