Michigan Football Coach Jim Harbaugh Feared He Would Be Fired Just A Few Years Ago, Brother-In-Law Tom Crean Tells Dan Dakich

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is riding high at the moment as he prepares his No. 2 Wolverines to play in the College Football Playoff semifinal on Saturday against No. 3 TCU (4 p.m., ESPN).

It is the eighth-year coach's second appearance in the CFP, and the former Michigan quarterback is coming off his second consecutive win over hated rival Ohio State after five-straight losses.

But just three years ago, Harbaugh was worried about his future in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines went 2-4 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. And the year before, Michigan finished in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten East for the fourth time in his first five years, finishing 9-4 and 6-3. That season also ended with his fourth bowl loss out of five.

"I mean, at the end of three years ago, that was not a good situation," former college basketball coach Tom Crean said on Tuesday's Don't @Me with Dan Dakich.

Dakich had asked, "Was there ever a time that Jim Harbaugh thought he was going to be let go at Michigan?"

Jim Harbaugh Was Not Feeling Secure At Michigan

"I think so. Yeah," Crean said. "It was definitely on his mind. I mean, I would say that. I don't think there's any question about that."

Crean, who was fired as Georgia's basketball coach last season, is married to Harbaugh's sister Joani. He previously was head coach at Indiana and Marquette.

"I wasn't there obviously," said Crean, who was Georgia's coach from 2018-22. "I'm just piecing a lot of this together just from being in the family. Things go downhill right? In communication, you see less people around, and those type of things."

Crean was fired last March from Georgia after a 6-26 season, including a 1-17 finish in the SEC.

"But I thought Jim did a great job when all that went on of keeping level-headed and continuing to understand where they were at and really wanting to be the head coach at Michigan," Crean said. "I mean, he really wanted to be there."

Harbaugh rebounded with a 12-2 finish in 2021 and won the Big Ten at 8-1 with his first win over Ohio State, which he celebrated as only he can. And Michigan is 13-0 going into its game against TCU (12-1). The winner plays in the national championship game on Jan. 9 (8:30 p.m., ESPN). against the winner of No. 1 Georgia (13-0) and No. 4 Ohio State (11-1), which play in Atlanta Saturday (8 p.m., ESPN).

"I think Jim's a confident guy," Crean said. "But he's also realist. And I think at the end of the day, there's no question that that (his future in 2019-20) was a concern."

Written by
Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests. A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention. Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at www.acadianhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.