Harmon of Michigan was the first in a trio of Columbia sports films, each starring a real-life athlete. In this case, the title character is All-American halfback Tom Harmon, who when introduced in the film is on the verge of graduating from Michigan and turning professional. Shortly thereafter, he becomes a college football coach, surprisingly resorting to illegal (or at least unethical) tactics to drive his team to victory. Even more surprising is that he is never called on the carpet for these tactics, which seem to have been given the tacit approval of the film's producers. Harmon's former teammate Forest Evashevski and Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Henry also appear as themselves. Though Anita Louise is cast as Tom Harmon's wife, the real-life Mrs. H. would ultimately turn out to be actress Elyse Knox (their children included 1980s screen star Mark Harmon and future "Mrs. Ricky Nelson" Kris Harmon).