Jim Harbaugh: Michigan good place to be despite challenges

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Jim Harbaugh has had an eventful offseason, from interviewing with the Denver Broncos to talking with the NCAA about possible violations in Michigan’s football program and firing an assistant coach under investigation by police.

“Compare us to perfect, and we’re going to come up short in the major areas,” Harbaugh said Thursday in his first remarks to reporters since the season ended. “Compare us to any other program, I think you’re going to see that it doesn’t get any better.”

A year after saying the door was closed on a return to the NFL, the former San Francisco 49ers coach talked with the Broncos about their vacant coaching job that was later filled by Sean Payton.

Harbaugh said multiple coaches on his staff had conversations with NFL teams and chose to stay at the school.

“I’m one of them,” he said. “People do what they think is best for them professionally and personally.”

There was, though, one coaching change. Co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss was fired in January after he failed to attend a meeting to discuss whether he had gained access to computer accounts belonging to other people, according to documents released by the school.

“I don’t really know anything and if I did, I don’t think I could comment on it,” Harbaugh said.

Shortly after the Wolverines lost 51-45 to TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinals, Michigan announced it received notice that the NCAA is looking into potential rules infractions in the football program.

The investigation involves impermissible texts and calls – including some by Harbaugh – to high school prospects during part of a pandemic-related dead period for contact with potential recruits. The NCAA also is looking at whether a member of Michigan’s off-field football staff violated rules by doing on-the-field coaching during practice.

Harbaugh told NCAA investigators in multiple meetings last month that he will not agree to an unethical conduct charge, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details of the investigation have not been shared publicly.

Harbaugh told reporters he was unable to comment on the NCAA matter.

A few hours Harbaugh’s news conference to preview spring practice, the Ann Arbor police posted a video on Twitter that showed the coach helping an officer move a fallen tree out of a street during an ice storm the previous night.

“You’re a good man,” officer Howard Cooper said to Harbaugh.

“Feel free to spread the word on that,” Harbaugh said. “Don’t feel like you have to keep that to yourself.”

South Carolina gives AD Tanner raise, two-year extension

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner received a two-year contract extension that ties him to the school through June 2026.

Tanner, 64, is a two-time College World Series champion as the Gamecocks’ baseball coach who moved to leading the athletic department in July 2012.

The new deal was approved by the school’s board of trustees Friday and replaces Tanner’s old agreement that was set to expire in June 2024. Tanner will receive a raise of more than $153,000 per season, increasing his total compensation to $1.175 million.

Tanner has had his ups and downs leading the department. He took over when football coach Steve Spurrier was in the middle of three straight 11-2 seasons with players like defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney and receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

Tanner’s hire to replace Spurrier, Will Muschamp, lasted less than five seasons before he was let go in the middle of 2020. Muschamp’s replacement, current coach Shane Beamer, has had back-to-back winning seasons and been to a bowl game his first two yeas.

Tanner has also overseen the rise of women’s basketball under coach Dawn Staley, who signed a seven-year contract before the 2021-22 season worth $22.4 million. Staley and the Gamecocks won the national title last April and are favorites to repeat this season.

Michigan RB Blake Corum says he’ll be back by fall camp

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan All-America running back Blake Corum said his surgically repaired left knee has gotten strong enough that he’s been cleared to run on an anti-gravity treadmill next week.

Corum said that he is “100%” sure he will play in the season-opening game on Sept. 2 against East Carolina

Corum tore a meniscus and sprained a ligament in his left knee against Illinois on Nov. 19. After playing sparingly against Ohio State, he sat out when the Wolverines won the Big Ten title and advanced to the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Instead of entering the NFL draft, Corum decided to stay in school for his senior year.

“Feeling great all-around mentally, physically spiritually,” Corum told The Associated Press.

The 5-foot-8, 210-pound Corum ran for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and had 952 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2021.

“I’ll be back definitely by fall camp,” he said. “I plan on doing everything in the summer workouts, depending on on what doctor says. He told me I shouldn’t be cutting until maybe June. I’m taking my time, but I will be ready by the season.”

Corum will be watching when his teammates face each each other in the Maize and Blue spring game on April 1 at Michigan Stadium.