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Indiana has the country’s most famous student manager

Feb 23, 2012, 8:30 AM EDT

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh had quite a successful first season in the NFL.

In addition to leading his team to the NFC West title and a couple of botched punts from the Super Bowl, he was named NFL Coach of the Year, in large part because he was able to turn Alex Smith into a serviceable quarterback. Obviously, the next step was for Harbaugh to volunteer as a student manager at an Indiana basketball game.

Wait, what?

I’m serious. In what was otherwise a trivial, late-February game between the Hoosiers and North Carolina Central, Harbaugh made waves across the twitter-sphere as he spent the game doing what student managers do, poking his head into the team huddles and even helping to set up and clear the stools set up on the court during timeouts.

And while it may seem that way on the surface, this wasn’t a completely random occurrence. Harbaugh’s sister is married to Indiana head coach Tom Crean. When Crean was asked why an NFL head coach had any interest in lugging around stools for a college hoops team to sit on during a game, Harbaugh — who had snuck his way into the back of Crean’s presser conference — blurted out “I’m trying to contribute.”

As enjoyable as the scene must have been, I can’t help but wonder whether or not Indiana was using Harbaugh properly. The Hoosier’s football team probably could use the help.

Oh, and Indiana won 75-56. Because that matters, right?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @RobDauster.