How many coaches care deeply about history? Well, Bo Schembechler did, so did Woody Hayes, and so does Jim Harbaugh. As Matthew Barrows recently wrote about for the Sacramento Bee, Jim Harbaugh has long has a fascination with military history.
It all apparently began in fifth grade, with one Mrs. Hiller. Little Jim’s interest in history grew even more when he realized that two of the coaches he looked up to the most, Woody Hayes of Ohio State and Bo Schembechler of Michigan, were history nuts. (By the way, since when did a Michigan man look up to an Ohio State guy? Something is wrong there. . .) Harbaugh now can quote Winston Churchill with the best of them—perfect for their current trip to London. He also has a Churchill poster behind his desk back in California.
Despite his apparent history prowess, Harbaugh has a quote to end this Sacramento Bee article regarding parallels between football and the military:
There’s a lot of parallels there, in my opinion, and the military, the American military, they’ve been doing it for 400 and something years. They’ve been doing it a lot longer than we’ve been doing football. So we definitely can learn a lot from them.
Now, the American military has only been around since the American Revolution, which, as any fifth grade student of history should be able to tell you, took place in the 1770s. Unless Harbaugh is going back to Jamestown, Virginia (Founded 1607) or St. Augustine, Florida (1565), when there was absolutely no American Military—just small, fragile European settlements—or even Native Americans and their warriors—i.e. Redskins and a whole different article—Harbaugh would be quite inaccurate in this statement. This seems to fit, however, with his exaggerating nature. Thus, I think we all will let it slide.