The Harbaugh Effect

The Harbaugh Effect

With Michigan Football being ranked #4 in the AP poll, and currently slated for a spot in the four team playoff, it is safe to say that Harbaugh has had an immediate impact on the Wolverines program.

Jim Harbaugh has taken a team that has gone through three head coaches in the past seven seasons, and has brought Michigan back into the national spotlight.

Winning Tradition

From 2004-2006, Harbaugh accepted his first head coaching position for the University of San Diego Toreros. The Harbaugh lead team compiled 30 wins and 2 loses in those two seasons, as well as claiming the Pioneer League Championship in 2005.

In 2007, he then took over a struggling Stanford Cardinal team, and turned them into PAC 10 contenders. Harbaugh helped lead the Cardinal to a record breaking victory over the University of Southern California Trojans. Stanford scored 55 points against the Trojans, the most points allowed from USC in their storied history. In 2010, the Cardinal football team achieved a #4 national ranking and received an invitation to play in the Orange Bowl. Stanford defeated Virginia Tech by a score of 40-12.

In 2011, Harbaugh then made the jump to the National Football League, and accepted an offer to coach the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers had not experienced a winning season since 2002, and Harbaugh was looked to right away to change that. With a completely new offensive scheme, the 49ers went 13-3 in Harbaugh’s first season. That season Harbaugh received the NFL Coach of the Year award. In 2012, The 49ers finished the regular season with a record of 11-4-1. Harbaugh not only had turned around a team that did not have a winning record since 2002, he brought them to a Super Bowl. In 2013, the 49ers won a third consecutive NFC West Divisional League Title.

Harbaugh then returned to his Alma Mater to coach the Michigan Wolverines.  In two seasons with Harbaugh at the helm, the Wolverines have amassed a won-lost record of 19-4. Included in those wins, is a convincing Citrus Bowl victory over the Florida Gators, a victory over in state rival Michigan State, as well as four defensive shut outs.

“Top to bottom Michigan is about excellence, greatness. You have my pledge I will carry forward the excellence of Michigan football,” said Harbaugh.


The most frequent word used to describe Jim Harbaugh is Intense. Harbaugh has a way of getting the most out of his players, and it shows in his coaching.

When you look to the sidelines of a Michigan game, what you will see besides the infamous khaki pants and the block M hat, is Jim Harbaugh rallying his players to get them excited for the game.

In a Detroit Free Press article, University of Michigan running back Drake Johnson talked about Harbaugh and the intensity he showed during camp.

“What he’s been stressing alot is the toughness of it. The first camp a lot of us were getting acclimated to his coaching style. But now that we’ve been under his belt for a year, (the freshman) getting this crash course in Harbaugh-ism, I personally enjoy it. I have no problem with it. It’s definitely been an increase in intensity.”

Michigan v Iowa

Harbaugh coaching quarterback Wilton Speight on the sidelines during a recent game.

Satellite Camps

Harbaugh has brought to Michigan an intense passion for showing others the game of football, and getting the youth in multiple states excited about football.

This past summer, Harbaugh, along with other college coaches from across the country, held 39 satellite camps for middle and high school aged kids in multiple locations. The locations spanned across 22 different states, American Samoa, and even Australia. It is a great way of bringing awareness of Michigan as a program, but also having the kids learn from some of the greatest coaches in the nation.

Harbaugh also wears a jersey of the hometown team in each of his camps. This goes hand in hand with Harbaugh reaching the kids on another level. He makes Michigan relatable to their hometown and has fun at every camp he attends.

Local parents have been thrilled by the opportunity to have their kids attend these camps. In a CBS Sports article, parent Christopher Braswell went on the praise the camps, “It’s huge-huge- to have this in inner city Baltimore. It gives kids the sense that someone’s out there who cares about them.”


Harbaugh coaching a local athlete at a Baltimore camp.