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Harbaugh Comes From Football Tradition

For the Ravens' new head coach John Harbaugh, his promotion comes as no surprise to a family rich with coaching history and tradition.

John was raised by father Jack Harbaugh, a distinguished 41-year coaching veteran who spent much of his career in the collegiate ranks. Serving as the head coach at Western Michigan and Western Kentucky, Jack also assisted at five other colleges, including the University of Michigan.

"When you grow up as a coach's kid and your dad coaches for Bo Schembechler and you come up through the years [with that]… who's got it better?" Harbaugh said.

In the Harbaugh household, that was sometimes an answer worth fighting for.

"They loved to compete with one another," Jack said of his sons. "They butted heads a few times, I'll tell you. John might say he won most of them, and Jim might say the he won most of them, but it was pretty even."

Jim Harbaugh, John's younger brother, eventually proved himself as an All-American at Michigan. A gifted quarterback, he was drafted as a first-round pick by the Chicago Bears and played 14 seasons in the NFL. He is currently the head coach of Stanford.

But it was his lone season in Baltimore that now seems more memorable than ever.

"We've been Ravens fans since 1998 since Jim came here, so we're just going to extend that now," Jack said.

For John Harbaugh, his family's Ravens revival has been worth the wait.

Harbaugh began his coaching career in 1986 when he oversaw the running backs and outside linebackers at Western Michigan. Learning the coaching ropes came naturally to him, as he gained much insight and knowledge from the school's experienced head coach: his father.

"When you grow up in that environment, you learn that there are three important things [to] putting together a football team," Harbaugh said. "No. 1, the team; No. 2, the second most important thing, is the team; and the third most important thing is the team."

Harbaugh moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 1987 to coach the Panthers' tight ends, followed up by another one-year stint in college in 1998, this time at Morehead State. He joined the University of Cincinnati coaching staff in 1989 and served in a variety of roles before becoming the school's assistant head coach in 1995. He coached the defensive backs and special teams at Indiana University in 1997 before launching his NFL career the following year.

As the special teams coach in Philadelphia for nine seasons, Harbaugh's units were consistently among the league's best. In 2007, he became the Eagles' secondary coach, an opportunity that would provide him a greater chance of becoming a head coach in the future.

On Saturday, John was joined by his wife, daughter and parents as he sat proudly in front of the Baltimore media and addressed the audience as the Ravens' new head coach.

"Finally the phone rang, and John asked me how I was doing," John's father said of when he found out the news. "I said, 'I'm fine, but just how great are you doing?' He told us that he was the new coach of the Baltimore Ravens, and it was one of those moments that we'll always treasure."

"I talked to Jim last night… he was in the car and he was screaming and excited," John said of a conversation with his brother. "It's a great coaching family. They're good people and they're all fired up."

As John Harbaugh prepares for the exciting changes in his life, he will undoubtedly remember the roots that got him there.

"I'm a football coach, I've been a football coach for a long time and I'm proud to be the football coach of the Baltimore Ravens," Harbaugh said. "This is an opportunity of a career, and it's a dream of ours that we've had for a long time. We can't wait to go to work."

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