Last night my family and I were grabbing an early dinner at the Creamery in Palo Alto. At the adjacent table, hosting what looked to be a small recruiting dinner, was Stanford Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh. Now, as a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I recognized him first and foremost as the quarterback who darn near ended the Steelers’ run to Super Bowl XXX in 1995. He was a fierce, classy, and determined competitor then, and with Stanford’s defeat of USC last season, those traits obviously have remained.
Anyway, by coincidence, we were walking out to the parking lot at roughly the same time. As I’ve got a 6 year old boy who’s gaining my love for Steelers football, I asked Coach Harbaugh if I could introduce him. What struck me was that when I did this Coach Harbaugh was literally in his car. He got out, said hello, and spoke to my wife, my kids and me for the better part of 10 minutes. He invited us to a football game, and flat out could not have been more courteous.
Often I hear about how the money and the exposure in college sports has killed what’s great about the NCAA. Coach Harbaugh is a great counter-example.
Thanks Coach Harbaugh, and go Cardinal in 2008-09!