AP sportswriter Larry Lage used his longtime relationship with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh to confirm on the record that Harbaugh was staying at Michigan after interviewing with the Minnesota Vikings, ending weeks of speculation that he was going back to the NFL.
Lage, in China covering the Olympics, received a text from Harbaugh, who said he was staying “with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.” That put an end to days of speculative and erroneous reporting by other outlets. Lage had been regularly texting Harbaugh without a response for weeks — until there was news to report.
AP had word from Harbaugh before he informed his assistant coaches — confirmed in a text to Lage from the head of the team’s media relations department. Meanwhile, Campbell had a source tell AP that the Vikings didn’t offer Harbaugh the job.
Other news organizations were left scrambling to match the story or citing unnamed sources, and AP’s Top 25 tweet on the news went viral, leading to the story being the top result on Twitter for searches of “Harbaugh.” Lage was also first with reaction from Harbaugh’s boss and former teammate, athletic director Warde Manuel.