Dec. 19, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford University officially introduced Jim Harbaugh as its new head football coach and Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football on Tuesday at a press conference held at Kissick Auditorium inside the Arrillaga Family Sports Center on the Stanford campus. Here's some of what Harbaugh, Bob Bowlsby (The Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics at Stanford) and quarterback T.C. Ostrander had to say.
HEAD COACH JIM HARBAUGH
"It is a pleasure, privilege, honor and blessing to accept the opportunity to be Stanford University's next head football coach. Now, I dedicate my life's work to building the foundation here at Stanford University, the foundation that will lead to great success down the road as well as continue the tradition and restore the legacy that Stanford rightfully has in college football. The journey that has taken me from Palo Alto High School, across the El Camino Real to the Farm has prepared me well and has prepared me to have great success at Stanford University. I thank Bob Bowlsby for putting his trust in me to lead the Stanford University football program, and I vow that I will attack this endeavor with enthusiasm unknown to mankind."
On his love for coaching
"I firmly believe that to be good at something, it's not a matter of being good or being bad, you are either trained or untrained. Coaching is something I knew I would do my entire life before I could even remember. I knew I would play as long as I possibly could, I would coach, then I would die (laughter). I feel very comfortable, very confident in the role of being a coach. I was trained to be a coach and knew I would be good at it, but the thing that keeps me coaching is the look that you get from a young man's face when he turns around and knows you've given him a coaching point that has made him better. Just pulling that greatness out of people, that's what keeps me coaching."
On recruiting at Stanford
"The first group of players that we need to recruit are our current players. We've got a lot of good current players here at Stanford. I've been studying the film, and I will continue to evaluate everyone on the roster - the latest and healthiest tape on each of our players and recruit them to our vision and plan. We don't want to lose any ground with our current players, they to me are the role models in college football. They are the best of the best, they're the scholar athletes. There is no other program in the country that you have the opportunity that we have here at Stanford. It will be one conversation at a time to get to know our current players and also the scholar-athletes we are recruiting now."
On the academic challenges at Stanford
"Once again, this is the best of the best. The academic challenges are what we proclaim from the rooftops. This is an unbelievable ticket to success to have a degree from Stanford and be a part of the people here at Stanford. This education, both in the classroom and on the football field, are second to none."
On his coaching style
"Football is played and coached by emotional and passionate people, and that is the way I am. I am hands on, you'll see me running around, doing push ups while I'm coaching. That's what I love about the job, being outside on the field, that's the medicine to me. Being out there with the guys, just doing it our way is what our players at Stanford will come to love. I am very competitive at scheming, very competitive at recruiting and very competitive at marketing the program."
On what to expect from Stanford's style of play
"Both the offense and the defense will be attack oriented. We will not be holding our positions for very long. We are attacking on both sides of the ball, whether it's from a 4-3 defense or an odd look. What I'd like you to see is a team that plays hard on every play, to me the wins and the great technique follow that. We will be attacking with a tempo that will be the best in college football, a tempo that will be lethal. That is my vision for what you will see on both sides of the ball and on special teams."
On his special relationships with quarterbacks
"I like to have a great relationship with the quarterbacks, it's near and dear to my heart. It is very important to our offense that our quarterback has a great understanding of our system. I love all the players on the team, but the quarterback is special. We will give him every opportunity to be successful and put in a position to have success. As long as he takes care of the football and protects the football we won't have a problem (laughter). I am looking forward to working with T.C. [Ostrander] and the rest of the guys as soon as possible."
DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS BOB BOWLSBY
"About two weeks ago, we decided to make the change in leadership in football. I have to tell you it could not have turned out any more successfully in my opinion. I was very happy we were able to recruit Jim Harbaugh to come to Stanford University. I think he is an extraordinary fit at our University. He certainly values the convergence of world-class athletics and world-class academics, and I think he will do an extraordinary job of representing our University as the head football coach in the years ahead. I'd like to thank the people on our staff that were involved in this process and also everyone across the University. The final person that was involved was Bill Walsh. His guidance and assistance has been absolutely terrific in this. We have a lot of people who are deeply invested in the football program at Stanford University. We are very excited about the future. We are very excited about getting going with completing this recruiting class, filling out the coaching staff and beginning to do the work that's required in order to return Stanford Football to its rightful place in the Pac-10 and nationally. As I said earlier, I don't believe when I started out two weeks ago that I could have had any hopes for hiring anybody who is a better fit, who brings more energy, innovation, vision and excitement for serving as Stanford University's head football coach than Jim Harbaugh."
On the search process
"When I am involved in these kinds high profile searches I like to go out and draw my own conclusions early on in the process. That's what I did this time around. I met with nine or ten coaches from around the country and spent a couple hours with each of them. Gradually I narrowed it down; I talked to a lot of people on the phone and visited with professional contacts. We gravitated around a couple of candidates. I asked the people I mentioned earlier involved in the interview process to validate what I had found in a couple of special coaches. When we finished the process we had two really outstanding prospects here, and they said whichever direction I decided to go would be fine with them. I believe that Jim left a professional opportunity with the Oakland Raiders to polish and hone his craft at the University of San Diego. I think he understands the college game. I think he understands the role of academics in the life of a student athlete, and I don't know that there is any place where that is more important than at Stanford University. More than anything else I think he embraces what it is that Stanford stands for, and I attribute a lot of that to his background with his father and having lived in this area. It is a process that fully took two weeks, but I think it's important that one is thorough in these kinds of circumstances, and I couldn't be any more pleased that it yielded the outcome that it did."
On Jim Harbaugh's style
"Student-athletes enjoy playing for him, they have fun. They enjoy practice, they enjoy the recruiting process and the energy he brings every day. The more I talked to people, the more I heard that he is very innovative. He's always scratching around looking for better ways to do things. Whatever he is doing, wherever he is doing it, he's having a good time at it and the people around him are inspired to be a part of what he's doing. That is what I heard most frequently, that Jim Harbaugh makes the people around him better, and I'm not sure there is a more appealing quality in a coach than that."
On any concerns about Harbaugh's coaching experience
"I think that he has coached at the highest levels in some ways. If you're a quarterback in the NFL you are involved in game planning, you're involved in strategic decisions, you're involved in the entire scheme of the offense. To have had the opportunity that Jim had to move up as a position coach in the NFL, and I have no doubt that's a chronology he'd have been able to undertake. Instead, he chose to go to a place where he could run his own program and have the experience of standing on the sidelines, having the decisions land on his lap, whether right or wrong. But I really consider his playing experience as akin to coaching because of the position he played and the role quarterbacks have in the preparation of their teams at all levels. So I don't think there is any question that Jim's football knowledge will transcend the jump from the University of San Diego to Stanford University."
QUARTERBACK T.C. OSTRANDER
"I was just trying to act as an adviser to Mr. Bowlsby [in the search process]. It was his decision but all of us just tried to help him make the best one he could, and we think he did. [Coach Harbaugh] made a great impression on us in the interview. We like what he does on offense and defense. He's enthusiastic, and he loves the game. We think he is going to have a great relationship with the players here, and we are all looking forward to starting. I think he will bring a lot of new things to the table. The first thing I am going to ask him is, `where's the playbook'? I want to get it as soon as I can and learn this offense like the back of my hand. Stanford has a history of coaches with not a lot of experience come in and do very well. I have all the confidence in the world in him, and I think all the other guys will feel the same way."