It would be hard to pick out two more polarizing characters in college sports than Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari.
Both are lead figures of major brands in their respective sports and have brought those programs recent success by doing things their own way. All of which makes the conversation they had on Calipari’s “Cal Cast” podcast fascinating.
The whole thing is really worth a listen. A large portion of the interview focuses on recruiting, which makes sense. Calipari picked Harbaugh’s brain about how he recruits at Michigan, including his notorious satellite camps. Around the 13-minute mark, Calipari displays genuine enthusiasm when asking Harbaugh about how he slept over at a recruit’s house.
“Tell me how you would do a sleepover, in case I want to do one?” Calipari asked.
That led into Calipari asking Harbaugh about wrestling matches he’s been in with recruits, and a hilarious story about how Harbaugh wrestled a recruit during his tenure at the University of San Diego.
“They cleared the furniture in the living room and we started wrestling,” Harbaugh said. “I went for my patented double-leg takedown. I shot on him and he sprawled on me. … He twisted me like a pretzel, got my neck twisted and I had no feeling in my left arm. To this day, it’s gone away a little bit. That was 15 years ago.”
The pair also discuss “negative recruiting” and “enemies.” They come across several coaching and family connections they didn’t know existed, which shows just how small the coaching world is. Of course, Harbaugh’s brother-in-law, Indiana coach Tom Crean, won’t be happy to hear the cordial tone throughout.
The whole thing is about 40 minutes long.