The most high-profile coaching search of 2014 only became complete thanks to the miracle that is iMessage.
Though he knew he would not return to San Francisco as early as Dec. 14, Jim Harbaugh would not accept any new job offers until the 49ers’ 8-8 season was complete. With a vacancy a month old and NFL competitors soon to be circling football’s hottest free agent, Michigan interim athletics director Jim Hackett knew he’d have to act fast.
As San Francisco wrapped up its regular season with a win over Arizona, it was time for Hackett to make a formal offer and present Harbaugh with a contract to sign. Only, he was in transit and his technology was failing him.
“We had this comical thing, where I was flying back from California – another part where I was doing something else — I can’t get my computer to work on the airplane,” Hackett told WBBL-FM (via the Detroit Free Press). “I get to the hotel and they don’t have .pdf software on their business computer. It was a disaster. I’m trying to get in front of him my signed document that I’ve agreed to. The great news about that, the iPhone, I was able to take a picture of the contract and text it to one of his colleagues that was helping. After that last game … he signs the deal Monday and gets on a plane to come to the press conference.”
It’s an interesting read, including how Hackett’s recruitment of Harbaugh started with his father Jack.
“The important thing there was the Harbaugh family. Jim and John’s father, Jack, was a coach at Michigan when I was there and I knew Jack. I actually called Jack first and hadn’t seen him in years but reminded him who I was, …He was such a wonderfully positive guy. I would talk to him every day. I called him and told him what I was working on and said, before I get in the middle of all of this, whether you think there is any interest from Jim. I said I’m looking at a lot of people, but I don’t want to waste a lot of his time and my time. So Jack got back to me and said ‘I think it’s probably worth you talking to him.'”