Mike Hart rebuffs idea that he had contentious relationship with Jim Harbaugh prior to 2021 hire

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Mike Hart rebuffs idea that he had contentious relationship with Jim Harbaugh prior to 2021 hire
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Back in 2006-07, there was something of a rivalry going on between Michigan men.

Then the head coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh lamented that other schools, including U-M, didn’t have the rigorous academic standards that the Cardinal had. That drew the ire of the then-senior running back in Ann Arbor, Mike Hart, who proclaimed for all to hear at Big Ten media days:

“That’s a guy I have no respect for. You graduate from the University of Michigan, and you’re going to talk about your school like that, a great university like we have? To say that we’re not true student-athletes? I don’t know if maybe he wants to coach here and he’s mad because he didn’t get a job.

“He says we don’t have great student-athletes, but he just accepted one of our transfers. What kind of sense does that make? Obviously, he wants guys like us at his school. I don’t know how he can say that. He’s not a Michigan man. I wish he’d never played here.”

Since, as Hart graduated, got into the NFL and then became a college coach shortly after, there had been ruminations that there was bad blood between the two prominent alums — especially with Harbaugh running the show in Ann Arbor. However, at his first media appearance since joining the Wolverines staff as the running backs coach, Hart dismissed the idea that there was any kind of bad blood between the two.

“2007? How old were you in 2007? 25? How old was I in 2007? Angelique, do you know? 21? Pretty sure I was 21 years old,” Hart said. “It’s been great. Ever since coach has got the job here, we’ve stayed in contact, we’ve talked. We’ve done camps together when they were doing all the mega camps. We’ve had a great relationship. Stuff happens, it is what it is and you move on.”

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Of course he’s going to say that now that he’s on the staff, but was there ever any truth to the idea that Harbaugh and Hart were at each others’ throats save for back when one was a young head coach and the other was a player?

Hart says that he was young and mouthy back in his playing days, but he learned a lot of lessons since then. Beyond that, he says that Harbaugh and he have had a budding relationship ever since the former quarterback took over the program in 2015.

“I’ve said a lot of things in my life, you guys know that! Youth, inexperience. I think that people say things when you’re angry and I’ve learned not to say things when I’m angry, I’ll tell you that,” Hart said. “Me and Jim have been great. It didn’t just start when he hired me. We’ve had a relationship before that — he didn’t just call me out of the blue. We’ve talked over the years since he’s gotten here. We’ve texted about the Ohio State game, we’ve played the same teams they’ve played. We’ve had a relationship. There’s no animosity, we’re good, we’ve been good.”

Now that the two are working in the same direction, we can finally put the past behind us and the rumors to rest.

List

Everything Mike Hart said in his first press conference as a Michigan coach