University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh is not happy about the University of Indiana’s decision to fire his brother-in-law, basketball coach Tom Crean.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Harbaugh not only blasted the Hoosiers, but compared Crean’s situation to the one he experienced with the San Francisco 49ers.
“Much like my situation in San Francisco, the people that are doing the micromanaging … when it comes to building a ball team, what they know could not blow up a small balloon,” he said, per Michael Rosenberg. “In my case, an owner and a general manager. In his case, an administration. They are so similar in that way. And he still wins two Big Ten championships outright.”
We can look at this a few ways.
First of all, it’d be hard to say that Harbaugh is wrong. San Francisco has won seven combined games in it’s first two years after Harbaugh. The 49ers won eight in the year that got him fired. So, it’s hard to challenge the notion that CEO Jed York and now former general manager Trent Baalke were in over their heads without Harbaugh.
He’s also not wrong about Indiana Basketball. The Hoosiers may well realize that the decision to fire Crean was a bad one.
But at the same time, Harbaugh is coming off as awfully bitter and he really has no reason to.
His divorce in San Francisco was ugly. But Harbaugh quickly landed a job at his alma mater, one of the best jobs in college football, and is being paid handsomely for it. It’s been more than two years since he left the 49ers.
Additionally, it’s nice that he’s sticking up for his brother-in-law, but coaches getting fired is a reality in sports. Harbaugh, a coach’s son who’s spent nearly his whole life in sports, should know this better than anyone. That doesn’t mean Indiana was right to fire Crean, but Crean’s not likely to suffer much, either. As Harbaugh detailed, he has a good record. In all likelihood, Crean will land another job in no time.
Harbaugh’s stance may be valid. But at a certain point, it’s time for Harbaugh to move on from his bitter ending in the NFL.
At any rate, Indiana and Michigan’s football team’s will square off on October 14. Given Harbaugh’s history of sending messages, the Hoosiers may be on blowout watch in that one.