Harbaugh overcomes hurdles to finish season at Super Bowl

Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:57pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Football was in his blood, and coaching was a natural career path for John Harbaugh, who paid his dues and learned his craft rung by rung on his way to taking the Baltimore Ravens to the Super Bowl.

The son of a coach and brother of the man who will direct the San Francisco 49ers on Super Sunday, Harbaugh was not blessed with the athletic skills of younger brother Jim, an NFL quarterback for 14 seasons.

He was, however, blessed with an inside take on life as a football coach, a family lesson that informs his approach to the job to this day.

"I think one of the great benefits of growing up in the house that we did as a coach's kids is that we saw dad do it," he said.

"The number one thing is that you put the players first. Just like a teacher, coaches are teachers and we learned that as kids.

"That's the thing that you do as a coach, you try to give everyone love. If you give everyone love, then you're going to be successful."

Five stops as an assistant coach in the college ranks took him from Western Michigan, where he coached under his father Jack Harbaugh, to Pittsburgh, Morehead State, Cincinnati and Indiana over a 13-year span.

That led to an NFL job coaching special teams for the Philadelphia Eagles, and after 10 years with them, Harbaugh was hired by the Ravens.   Continued...