The Story Of Jay Harbaugh Turning Down His Dad Once, What It Means Now

Posted on Posted in Michigan Football

There is a story you’ll definitely want to hear about Jay Harbaugh, who will reportedly be Michigan‘s new tight ends coach, and how this isn’t the first opportunity he’s had to work with his dad, Jim Harbaugh.

“It’s a dream to one day work for my dad, and hopefully the opportunity will come,” Jay told Jon Wilner of the San Jose News in a story published just before the start of this NFL season.


Reports are indicating that Jay has accepted a job in Ann Arbor, under his dad, as the tight ends coach at Michigan.

But this is isn’t the first time Jay has had the opportunity to work with his dad. This is just the first time he’s taken it. Jim wanted his son to join him in San Francisco this last offseason when there was coaching vacancy.

Jay has always wanted to follow his dad’s footsteps—but not directly in them.

He didn’t want it to look like he was taking a free hand-out because his dad happened to be the coach. Instead, Jay wanted to emulate what his father had done and work his way through the ranks, just like most everybody else has to.

That led him to Oregon State, where he worked as an undergraduate assistant under head coach Mike Riley.

From there, it was on to Baltimore to work for his uncle, John Harbaugh, with the Ravens as an offensive quality control coach, providing statistical analysis and breakdowns of opposing defenses.

Jim wanted Jay to join him in San Francisco next. The two could work side-by-side as coaches and father and son.

But because Jay is so much like his father, he knew he couldn’t take that job and give people the wrong impression.

When Jim asked if he was at all worried about people getting the same idea about him working for his uncle John, Jay replied, “It’s my responsibility to not give them the opportunity to confirm that suspicion.” has reported that Jay Harbaugh is showing up in the Michigan registry, meaning these reports of him joining his father’s staff in Ann Arbor are all but officially confirmed.

What is there to learn from from this story?

If you like Jim Harbaugh for who he is, you have no choice to like Jay Harbaugh for the same reason.

Tyler Fenwick is the managing editor of The Big House Report. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

Tyler Fenwick
Managing Editor at The Big House Report
I am an aspiring journalist studying at IUPUI. I am the third (and youngest) manager of The Big House Report, and it's my responsibility to make sure it runs more smoothly today than it did yesterday.