In a Q&A session with CBS Sports Senior Writer Dennis Dodd, Tom Crean opened up about his relationship with Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and the rest of the Harbaugh family. Crean, who recently became the Georgia basketball coach, is married to Joan Harbaugh — Jim and John Harbaugh’s sister — so he was able to dish some inside information about what it’s like being the brother-in-law of two high-level football coaches.
Crean has had enlightening talks with Jim Harbaugh dating back to Harbaugh’s Stanford football days and when Crean was the head basketball coach at Marquette in 2007. And as Crean contemplated his next move — he would become the Indiana coach the next year — the Harbaughs were among the few people he discussed the matter with.
“When you can talk to your family and they’re high level in the business, that’s a double win,” Crean said.
One of Crean’s favorite memories with the Harbaugh family came in 2008 when he witnessed John Harbaugh’s parents find out John would be the next coach of the Baltimore Ravens, a position he still currently holds. There was also the time Jack Harbaugh, Joan’s father, led Western Kentucky to the FCS national championship in 2002.
Even when Crean was considering the Georgia job, he consulted the Harbaughs. Crean had not been to the campus since 1990, so he talked to John Harbaugh, who had made several scouting trips there.
“It wasn’t a lot of community knowledge or institutional knowledge of a school but the respect level was high,” Crean said.
All in all, Crean views his relationship with the Harbaughs as a long-time friendship and one he believes will continue as Crean, Jim and John attempt to conquer their respective sports.
“You learn a lot about coaching, about leadership. Certainly learn a lot about parenting. You learn a lot about family love,” Crean said. “They all care about each other, protect each other. I knew that but it gets reaffirmed all the time.”
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