Super Bowl

Jack Harbaugh's Coaching Career Plays Vital Role in Sons' Successes

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Jim Harbaugh (L) of the San Francisco 49ers and his brother, head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens (C) talk with their parents Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, and John's daughter Allison, before the start of the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers at M&T Bank Stadium on November 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII coaches John and Jim Harbaugh have learned a lot from their father Jack over the past half century, but he taught them few things more important than how to lead a football team to greatness.

Jack Harbaugh left a legacy as a decorated football coach and a leader of men, helping lead a handful of high school and college teams over the period of five decades, for the better part of his sons' lives.

After beginning his coaching career in the high school ranks in Ohio in the mid-1960s after the birth of his two sons, Jack eventually worked his way up the ladder and was a college assistant in the Big Ten by the time John and Jim had each turned 10.

In the case of John and Jim Harbaugh, they didn't have to look far for an example of how to be successful as a head football coach. All they had to do was watch their father, who took over as head coach of Western Michigan's football program around the time they were becoming adults in the early 1980s.

Jack was out at Western Michigan after five seasons but took over Western Kentucky's program three years later, and went 91-68 in 14 seasons with the Hilltoppers.

He retired from head coaching with a winning record and his sons have followed suit.

John, 50, has won over 67 percent of his games in Baltimore with the Ravens since taking over in 2008. He's led Baltimore to the playoffs in all five of his seasons with the team and now has the Ravens on the brink of winning the franchise's second Super Bowl title.

Meanwhile, the younger, 49-year-old Jim, has achieved even more success as an NFL head honcho. After winning 68 percent of his games as a head coach for San Diego and Stanford in college football, Jim has won 75 percent of his games in two seasons as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

Together the two brothers have won 69.5 percent of their games as NFL head coaches.

It's no coincidence that John and Jim are two of the best head coaches in the league today, and that they are going head-to-head on the game's grandest stage, Super Bowl XLVII.

They've learned a lot from their father—more so than the average son. To say that Jack Harbaugh's lengthy coaching career has played a critical role in his sons' successes in the same profession would be a colossal understatement.

 

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