Just as the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was tipping off on Thursday, Indiana announced it had fired head basketball coach Tom Crean. Such a move was largely expected given the way this past season played out and now Indiana will have a new football and basketball coach in 2017. The Crean dismissal has been a bit of a discussion point while the tournament has been going on, and among those sounding off on the head coaching change in Bloomington is… Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh.
At first you may think that seems kind of odd that a football coach at one Big Ten school would have any reason to discuss a basketball coach at another Big Ten school being dismissed, but Crean is Harbaugh’s brother-in-law, so Harbaugh has a personal reason to be critical of the Indiana decision. In a story for Sports Illustrated by Michael Rosenberg, Harbaugh compared his personal experience with the San Francisco 49ers with what he sees his brother-in-law going through this week at Indiana.
Jim Harbaugh looks at Crean’s Indiana tenure and says, “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. 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.”
If this quote tells us anything, it is that the head coach of the Wolverines still has some bitter feelings for his old bosses with the 49ers. Harbaugh took the 49ers to a Super Bowl and nearly captured a Super Bowl championship, but he was topped by the Baltimore Ravens, coached by his brother John Harbaugh. The other Harbaugh brother had some choice words to say about Indiana’s situation as well, telling Crean the day he was let go will prove to be the best day of his career.
One might suggest Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers parting ways ended up being the best day of his career. Now, Harbaugh is the highest-paid coach in college football and coaching his alma mater back to national relevance as he enters his third year on the sideline. Crean will certainly land a new job somewhere, but he may not be the next highest-paid coach in the sport.
Helmet sticker to The Comeback.