One of Indiana's team managers Wednesday night may be the most highly paid man ever to do that job.
That's because Indiana coach Tom Crean put brother-in-law Jim Harbaugh to work in return for a seat on the Hoosiers' bench for their 75-56 nonconference victory over North Carolina Central.
The San Francisco 49ers coach and reigning NFL Coach of the Year worked with Indiana's other student managers, setting up folding chairs during timeouts, eavesdropping during huddles and then hauling the chairs back to the sideline afterward. Harbaugh also spoke to the Hoosiers after the game and even stuck around for Crean's postgame news conference.
When Crean explained that his brother-in-law volunteered to moonlight as a student manager for the night, a smiling Harbaugh hollered from the back of the room, "I wanted to contribute in some way." Then when Crean was asked if he was concerned Harbaugh was a Michigan spy, the ex-Wolverines quarterback shouted, "Hell no."
Harbaugh is in Indianapolis for this week's NFL combine, so he and 49ers general manager Trent Baalke made the hour-long drive to Bloomington for Wednesday's game. In addition to sitting on the Indiana bench and posing for pictures with starstruck Hoosiers fans, he also took the time to chat with the North Carolina Central coaching staff.
Tweeted coach LeVelle Moton: "Met Jim Harbough after the game 2day. He complimented my staff and my team for the way we played. That's the ultimate compliment! #Respect"
Of course the greatest impression Harbaugh made was on the Indiana players, each of whom were thrilled to have him on the bench clad in his trademark black 49ers sweatshirt and khaki pants.
"For him to sit with us and talk to us and motivate us was a blessing," guard Victor Oladipo told reporters after the game. "He told us to play hard and give the coaches what they want."
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