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Michigan grad Zach Putnam is excited by school's new football coach

Zach Putnam lives in Ann Arbor, Mich., during the offseason, so the White Sox reliever caught a first-hand view of the excitement surrounding favorite son Jim Harbaugh's return to take over the Wolverines football program.

"Just the excitement surrounding that was incredible," Putnam said. "I haven't seen a buzz like that in town in a long time."

And that buzz probably wasn't related to Harbaugh's fashion-forward style.

Harbaugh

Putnam has a more personal connection to the Harbaugh hiring. You see, the right-hander is not just a resident of Ann Arbor but also a former student-athlete at the University of Michigan. He even attended Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, where he was named the Gatorade High School Player of the Year and Mr. Baseball in Michigan in 2005.

Putnam

Harbaugh was his choice to replace Brady Hoke right from the start of the search.

"I love it. I absolutely love it," Putnam said. "I said it before the signing: I thought he would be the only guy that would be able to right the ship.

"Not necessarily the only coach that would be able to do a great job. But as far as what the people wanted and what the university needed, it was Jim Harbaugh."

As for running into Harbaugh after his hiring, Putnam has only heard reports of his in-town sightings.

"People have been texting me: 'I just saw Harbaugh,'" said Putnam with a laugh. "Everyone is really excited."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.