For as deeply as Jim Harbaugh loves football, it might come as a surprise that he has zero fun coaching games.
In an interview with Barstool’s Pardon My Take podcast, Harbaugh left little doubt as to whether or not he enjoys himself on the sidelines during a close contest.
“No. No, I do not. The only thing I can liken it to is sitting in a dentist chair for three and a half hours while they perform a root canal on you,” Harbaugh said.
Does it ever become fun? Is there ever a point when the coach can put aside the stress and bask in the moment?
“When we win,” Harbaugh said. “And then it becomes the greatest feeling — six hours of pure joy. Nobody celebrates more, has more fun than we do after a win. But during it, it’s painful.”
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The intensely competitive Harbaugh — he once dominated his teenage niece in a family basketball game — is simply wound too tight during games to have fun. He’s ever wary of letting his guard down for fear that it might cost his team.
“Maybe, if there’s like a minute or two left and you’re up by at least two to three scores, then you’ve got a chance to enjoy it,” Harbaugh said. “Other than that, you’re just thinking of everything that can still happen. And you see it happen all the time, you see it happen every single week.”
Harbaugh would know, of course.
His most infamous moment at Michigan, maybe the most infamous moment of his coaching career, came in 2015 when the Wolverines turned sure victory into inexplicable defeat versus the Spartans.
Harbaugh added he’s had a hard time over the past couple weeks transitioning from training camp to the regular season because he sees less of his players.
“It’s tougher now because school’s started,” he said. “I miss training camp, I’m having withdrawals from training camp because we got to be with the players pretty much all day long with meetings, weightlifting, practices. Now there’s about four to five hours a day we get to be with them.
“The rest of the time we get to work on football and watch the tape, but the players aren’t here all the time, which I miss. So it makes it harder, but have to find a way.”
Michigan (2-0) moved up to No. 7 in this week’s AP Poll after topping Cincinnati 36-14 on Saturday.