Jim Harbaugh’s dad has warned him about Michigan’s next opponent

ANN ARBOR -- Some of Jim Harbaugh’s earliest and most cherished memories come from when his dad, Jack, was a football coach at Bowling Green. Jim was 4 years old when his dad began the first of his three seasons as an assistant coach at the Ohio school. Jack had played football there from 1957 to 1960 and met his wife, Jackie, in an English class.

“There’s a great picture of my dad sitting on the bench wearing his number 13 and my mom behind him as a cheerleader at BG,” Jim said. Whenever he drives that way, to or from Ann Arbor on the way to Crestline or Cleveland, Ohio, he looks out the window at the school’s football stadium. He can recite the fight song, “Ay Ziggy Zoomba” -- as he and his dad did during an event in Toledo a few years ago -- and he appreciates the big section of his dad’s basement devoted to Bowling Green.

The 84-year-old Jack, it would seem, is a proud alum. Said Jim on Monday: “My dad has been right there now for a couple weeks telling us, ‘Bowling Green is going to come up here and kick your ass. ’” Michigan hosts Bowling Green on Saturday (7:30 p.

m. ET, Big Ten Network). Harbaugh won’t be in attendance as he serves the third and final game of his suspension.

It will still be a fun matchup for his family. Michigan is the No. 2 team in the country and a 40-point favorite on Saturday.

Those facts do nothing to diminish the respect Harbaugh has for Bowling Green football. On Monday, he was asked if he had a relationship with Bowling Green head coach Scot Loeffler and whether the school was a special place for the Harbaugh family. He smiled wide.

“Affirmative and affirmative,” Harbaugh said. “Both. ” Like Harbaugh, Loeffler was once a Michigan quarterback (1993 to 1995) and was at a coach there too, serving as quarterbacks coach from 2002 to 2007.

“Always been friends with Scot and we keep in touch and text and talk sometimes,” Harbaugh said. “He’s doing a heck of a job there. ” Loeffler is in his fifth season with Bowling Green, his first head-coaching gig.

The Falcons went 6-7 last year and are 1-1 this season: They lost at Liberty in the opener (34-24) and beat Eastern Illinois at home on Saturday (38-15). Harbaugh highlighted Bowling Green’s running and passing attack. “Just really impressed with their offensive structure,” he said.

“He’s got ‘em on the move. ” .

By Andrew Kahn | akahn1@mlive.com
Filed 09.12.2023

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