Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is known for taking the fight to the SEC. Harbaugh has fired shots at “the Georgia coach,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and Alabama. The feuds escalated when Harbaugh held recruiting satellite camps in the South.
His latest victim? SEC super fan and ESPN talking head Paul Finebaum. Finebaum criticized Harbaugh for reportedly hiring Michael Johnson, a high school coach and the father of an elite recruit. Finebaum insinuated that Harbaugh hired Johnson just to get his son. From Football Scoop:
“This is wrong,” Finebaum said. “It may not be illegal by NCAA standards and bylaws as of this moment, but to me it’s cheating. It’s blatantly disregarding the spirit of the NCAA rule. We all know why he’s doing it. And this is the same person who last year accused Nick Saban of cheating, he accused Hugh Freeze of cheating, and in my mind, and I know you can’t prove it and he won’t be penalized for it, but he’s cheating and why don’t we just face up to it? There’s no other reason why he would hire this man. It’s been done in the past… but it’s still wrong. I don’t know why the media celebrates Jim Harbaugh for disregarding the NCAA rule book and doing things that are in my mind unethical.”
Johnson is actually an accomplished coach, having coached in both the NFL and college football, so there is certainly reason he would have been hired other than his son’s talent. Plus, he ended up not joining the Michigan staff, instead going to Oregon.
So in @Dog_Rates style, Harbaugh went after Finebaum:
Pete Finebaum, the unabashed SEC water carrier, really needs to get his facts straight. #AlternativeFacts
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 17, 2017
Harbaugh elaborated more on San Jose Mercury-News columnist Tim Kawakami’s podcast:
“The annoying part is people that show their true colors and try to impugn your integrity where you’ve done nothing wrong,” Harbaugh said. “They just show their colors, they want to impugn your integrity, they want to see you fail, they want to take shots at you. But they say no good deed goes unpunished and you’re doing a good deed, you’re hiring somebody, and where do they go from there? They go right to impugning your integrity by calling you a cheater. The response is, take it with a grain of salt and have some humor about it, but come on man, I’m not gonna let that go, either.”
No matter where you stand on this, we can all agree on one thing: Harbaugh will never let things go.