SBD/June 19, 2017/Colleges

Jim Harbaugh Set To Invite Obamas To Michigan Game, Talks Jim Hackett's Leadership

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Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh is "in the process" of officially asking President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama to be "honorary captains this fall for a game at Michigan Stadium," according to Angelique Chengelis of the DETROIT NEWS. Harbaugh "visited with the former president last Wednesday during a quick visit" to DC. Harbaugh: "We had 39 wonderful minutes with president Obama. Saw Mrs. Obama as well. He was great" (DETROITNEWS.com, 6/17). In Detroit, Mark Snyder noted Harbaugh "served on Michelle Obama's education committee," helping her at rallies in Detroit and DC. He also "connected with President Obama during the speech supporting Hillary Clinton in the days before the election last fall, and then Harbaugh and his wife Sarah were invited to one of the Obamas' final parties in January before leaving the White House." Harbaugh had a "number of famous honorary captains last year, including Michael Jordan, Tom Brady and Hank Aaron" (FREEP.com, 6/17).

LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP: Former UM interim AD Jim Hackett recently took over as Ford CEO, and Harbaugh said of him, "I give him an A+ for decision-making. He’s honest. And very smart ... an intellectual guy." Harbaugh added that he "learned a lot from Hackett," noting he "makes smart decisions." In Detroit, Brent Snavely noted Harbaugh in '15 "supported the idea of switching from Adidas to Nike for athletic footwear, apparel and equipment." Harbaugh: "My instinct was, 'OK it is Nike -- let's go.'" But Snavely noted Hackett " slowed the decision" and "insisted on surveying players to learn their preference." A team of UM individuals "evaluated three companies -- Nike, Adidas and Under Armour --- in various categories at multiple stages of the process." Harbaugh said that process led to a "room full of charts and interviews, and pros and cons, etc." Harbaugh said that the process, which resulted in a 10-year deal with Nike for what would be the largest apparel deal in the country, "led to a better deal and boosted morale because everyone felt included." Harbaugh: "It's another example of a process where I learned some things" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/18).
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