As Jamison Hensley reported last night in this blog, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti brought head coach John Harbaugh and coordinators Cam Cameron and Greg Mattison to the Terps-North Carolina State basketball game.
Mike Preston and Jamison have written previously about Harbaugh's rah-rah, college-type speeches and motivational tools, and that some professional players don't buy into that type of leadership.
But last night Harbaugh was clearly in his element at the college game. He frequently turned to the students and at times left his seat to talk with them. He was definitely enjoying himself. With a sellout crowd, the atmosphere at the Comcast Center was electric.
While few coaches have started their pro careers by making the playoffs their first two seasons, and he's done a great job with the Ravens, I can't help but think that Harbaugh would be a tremendous college coach.
As a recruiter, he'd play well in the living rooms of players' houses, especially with mom and dad. As a motivator, you could see an 18- or 19-year old wanting to run through a wall for him after he gives a shovel-and-sword speech. As a coach, he'd be bringing invaluable experience gained at both the college and professional levels. He'd also bring an enthusiasm that students and alumni would love.
When the Notre Dame job came open, I thought he was a perfect fit. He's from the Midwest, does a local ad for the Catholic church and would have held the history of the program in high regard. You could almost hear him say, "the might, mighty men of Notre Dame ... " in his first news conference. He'd probably have Rudy at his side during it.
This isn't knocking the job Harbaugh has done as coach of the Ravens. He was a great hire to replace Brian Billick and his record speaks for itself. But after seeing Harbaugh at the Terps game, my opinion hasn't changed. In fact it just strengthened it -- he would be a great college coach.