Michigan's Jim Harbaugh preaches the impact of 'national champion' results

HOUSTON — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday's win over Washington in the College Football Playoff National Championship will be an “overwhelming” experience because of how many people it will affect.

“It means a lot to our players, they know what it's like to be a champion,” Harbaugh said. “Simply referred to as National Champions.

“Their parents want their son to be a champion, a national champion; their grandparents want a grandson; their siblings want a brother. [national champion].”

Harbaugh downplayed how he cares about how the win will affect his own legacy, but admitted he cares deeply about how his family can be happy with the Wolverine title.

“What it means to me is for my kids to know that their dad is a national champion, and for my parents and my brother and my sister,” Harbaugh said. “That's the biggest thing, so many people can enjoy it, be a part of it.

“For my wife, her husband would be a national champion. For me, not so much, but for everyone else, yes, that would be huge.”

Harbaugh, in his ninth season as Michigan's coach, previously was named NFL Coach of the Year and AP College Football Coach of the Year. But he has yet to coach a team beyond a conference or division title in four head coaching stops (FCS San Diego, Stanford, San Francisco 49ers and Michigan).

Harbaugh and Washington coach Kalen DeBoer took turns during Sunday's coaches' news conference, praising each other's plans in what turned out to be an exercise in civility.

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When asked what his message would be to his players if he were to leave for an NFL job, Harbaugh didn't focus on prognostication, instead choosing to talk about the message going into the game.

“I can't wait to see them compete, see them at it,” he said. “That's my great feeling, let it rip.”

Without missing a beat, he switched to a quick rundown of Washington, calling the teams “mirror images” of each other in how complete they are.

“I really feel like these are two great teams,” Harbaugh said. “They're the last two standing.”

DeBoer's tenure in Washington is in its early days, with questions lingering about Harbaugh's future with Michigan. After inheriting a team that went 4-8 in 2021, DeBoer has gone 25-2 in his two seasons with the Huskies.

“The team, I think every win is celebrated on some level because it's so hard to win a college football game and I make sure they do it,” DeBoer said. “But it's really been a very bad mindset, not getting the job done — not getting the job done — and we're going to celebrate the win. But the next game is more important.”

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