Editor’s note: With the National Championship game tonight, we re-up this Jim Harbaugh piece from 2020, which alludes to Big Ten Media Days 2017.
As the Allies marched toward victory in Europe during WWII the saying was “first you take Paris, then you take Berlin.” For Michigan Wolverines Coach Jim Harbaugh, it’s Rome this past spring, and Paris is up next.
He’ll also take his team to where the Allies landed as Harbaugh plans on taking his team to Paris and Normandy in 2018.
The voyage will be during the spring football practice period, and it comes on the heels of 2017’s Rome trip being a tremendous success.
I think it was A+ on all levels,” Jim Harbaugh said of the sojourn to the eternal city, one that he previously described as chance to make the world your classroom.
“I definitely encourage going on trips with a big group. There were things that happened au naturale, when we were together for a whole week, in a different country that were phenomenal.”
Like everything else with Jim Harbaugh, the travels received a lot of attention and polarized opinion.
The trip has of course been the recipient of derision from rivals.
Said Harbaugh: “I’m happy to lend support if anyone is thinking of the idea of taking their team on a trip like this, and I’ve even had some of our competitors come up to me and said ‘that trip was phenomenal, awesome. We’ve been, as a staff trying to poke holes in it, and we can’t. We just try to change the conversation real fast.’
“Instead of doing that, do it. Take your team on an educational trip. It’s phenomenal for all involved.”
During their trip to Rome, the Wolverines saw numerous world famous tourist attractions, including: The Colosseum, The Forum, The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, St. Peter’s, The Vatican and Piazza Navona.
Harbaugh touched on the topic of next season’s travels to Paris and Normandy.
“When you talk to some of the experts and travel planners, there’s so much to do,” he said.
You want to spend some time in Paris, you want to go to Monet’s Gardens, you want to go to Versailles, you want to go to Normandy. It needs a week, I’ve been to Paris and didn’t get close to everything done in one week.”
So that will probably be the way that we’ll lean, as we start to prepare for this trip and plan it.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now, while writing for the International Baseball Writers Association of America. You can follow the website on Twitter.