John Wangler put his arm around a young camper and fed him advice as the two traveled from the Big House to the Al Glick Fieldhouse during Ann Arbor’s Aerial Assault, a camp dedicated solely to young quarterbacks.
The camper hung onto every word Wangler spoke, and for good reason.
On top of leading the 1981 Wolverines to the program's first Rose Bowl victory since 1964, Wangler also won four Big Ten championships. After Wangler graduated in 1981, the reins were handed over to none other than Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh three years later.
The Daily caught up with Wangler at A4 to discuss his two sons — junior wide receiver Jack and sophomore linebacker Jared — the hype surrounding Harbaugh and the future of Michigan football.
The Michigan Daily:
What’s it been like to be around Harbaugh and the football program the past few months?
Wangler: “I’ve always liked Jimmy and enjoyed being around him. He hasn’t changed much. He’s got the same enthusiasm, love of the game, passion. It’s great to see him get his opportunity to coach here. Obviously, he’s got a great passion for football and for kids and what he’s doing with these camps across the country. He’s trying to touch kids and expose them to Michigan and to football, and it’s a wonderful thing. It’s just great for the game of football, and he’s trying to give back to get the kids enthusiastic about playing the game and exposed to quality people.”
TMD: How have your sons responded to all of the hype surrounding the coaching change?
JW: "(My sons) love playing, they love being at Michigan. They really enjoy Coach Harbaugh and his staff. Just being here, they kind of have it in their blood, and it was always a dream. To be able to come here and play for Jimmy and Michigan and represent Michigan is really a dream come true. They’re just doing anything they can to contribute and make the team better.”
TMD: What do you see for Michigan football within the next five years?
JW: “I see greatness. We have great tradition and history, and Jim is an integral part of all that. He will bring that back. Everywhere he’s been, he’s been successful, and this will be no exception. He’ll get us back to where we all want to be, and it should be good.
"It won’t happen overnight, everybody’s got to be patient, but I think there’s no question he’s gonna do great things here.”