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Jim Harbaugh
Nfl g harbaugh smitha 576
Harbaugh on sideline with S.F. 49ers QB Alex Smith, 2011
Biographical details
Born December 23 1963 (1963-12-23) (age 60)
Toledo, Ohio
Alma mater Michigan
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)

James Joseph "Jim" Harbaugh (born December 23, 1963) is an American football coach who is currently the head football coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines and is a former quarterback. He played college football at Michigan for coach Bo Schembechler from 1983 to 1986 and played in the National Football League (NFL) for 14 seasons from 1987 to 2000. He then served as the head coach of the San Diego Toreros (2004–2006), the Stanford Cardinal (2007–2010), and the NFL's San Francisco 49ers (2011–2014).[1] In 2015, Harbaugh returned to his alma mater, Michigan.[2]

Harbaugh was born in Toledo, Ohio. His father, Jack Harbaugh, was a football coach, and the family lived in Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa, Michigan, and California. He attended high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Palo Alto, California, when his father was an assistant coach at Michigan and Stanford, respectively. After graduation from high school in Palo Alto in 1982, Harbaugh returned to Ann Arbor and enrolled at the University of Michigan and played quarterback for the Wolverines, starting for three seasons. As a fifth-year senior in 1986, he led Michigan to the 1987 Rose Bowl and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, finishing third.

The Chicago Bears selected Harbaugh in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft. He played 14 years as a quarterback in the NFL, with Chicago from 1987 to 1993, the Indianapolis Colts from 1994 to 1997, the Baltimore Ravens in 1998, and the San Diego Chargers in 1999 to 2000. He first became a regular starting quarterback in 1990 with Chicago. In 1995 with Indianapolis, he led the Colts to the AFC Championship Game, was selected to the Pro Bowl and was honored as NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

From 1994 to 2001, while still playing in the NFL, Harbaugh was an unpaid assistant coach at Western Kentucky University, where his father Jack was head coach. In 2002, he returned to the NFL as the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders. Harbaugh returned to the college ranks in 2004 as the head coach at the University of San Diego. After leading San Diego to consecutive Pioneer League championships in 2005 and 2006, he moved to Stanford in 2007, where he led the Cardinal to two bowl berths in four seasons, including the 2011 Orange Bowl. Immediately afterward, Harbaugh signed a five-year deal as head coach of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, where he led the team to the NFC Championship game in each of his first three seasons. He and his older brother, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, became the first pair of brothers to serve as head coaches in NFL history. Their teams played in a Thanksgiving Classic game in 2011 and Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013.

College playing career[]

Harbaugh played for the junior league Ann Arbor Packers, then for Tappan Junior High, going on to Pioneer High School and then to Palo Alto High School in California, where he graduated in the class of 1982.[3] He was a four-year letterman at the University of Michigan and finished his college career in the top five in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, passing yards, and touchdown passes in school history. Playing for Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, he was a three-year starter, though he broke his arm five games into the 1984 season and sat out the remainder the year. As a junior in 1985, Harbaugh led the nation in passing efficiency and quarterbacked one of Schembechler's best teams. The 1985 team posted a 10–1–1 record, defeated Nebraska in the 1986 Fiesta Bowl, and finished with a #2 ranking in the final polls, the highest finish for Michigan during Schembechler's tenure as head coach. As a senior in 1986, Harbaugh guided Michigan to an 11–2 record (which included his guaranteed victory over arch-rival Ohio State, which Michigan won, 26–24 in Columbus)[4] and a berth in the 1987 Rose Bowl while earning Big Ten Conference Player of the Year honors and finishing third in the Heisman balloting. Harbaugh was also named to the Big Ten's All-Academic team, as well as the 1986 AP and UPI All-American teams. He held the career NCAA Division I FBS passing efficiency rating record (325–399 completions) for 12 years.[5] He led the nation in efficiency in 1985.[6]

Career passing stats[]

Year Att Comp Int Comp % Yds Yds/Comp TD Long
1983 5 2 0 40.0 26 13.0 0 19
1984 111 60 5 54.1 718 12.0 3 45
1985 227 145 6 63.9 1,976 13.6 18 77
1986 277 180 11 65.0 2,729 15.2 10 62
Total 620 387 22 62.4 5,449 14.1 31 77

Career rushing statistics[]

Year Att Net Yd Yd/Att TD Long
1983 2 −15 −7.5 0 0
1984 42 54 1.3 0 16
1985 79 139 1.8 4 24
1986 94 118 1.3 8 20
Total 217 296 1.4 12 24

NFL playing career[]

Harbaugh entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 1987. He played seven seasons for the Bears and passed for a career-high 3,121 yards with them in 1991.

From 1994 to 1997, Harbaugh quarterbacked the Indianapolis Colts, and in 1995, achieved career highs in completion percentage (63.7) and touchdown passes (17). While with the Colts, during the 1995–96 NFL playoffs he led the team to the AFC Championship game and came within one dropped Hail Mary pass of taking the Colts to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1970. In 1995, he was voted to the Pro Bowl, was named Comeback Player of the Year and AFC Player of the Year, and was runner-up in the NFL MVP voting. With the Colts, Harbaugh completed 746 of 1,230 passes for 8,705 yards and 49 touchdowns and won the NFL passer rating title in 1995 with a rating of 100.7. In January 2005, Harbaugh was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor as one of the most successful and popular players in the club's Indianapolis era.

After a last-place 3–13 record in 1997, Harbaugh was traded to the Baltimore Ravens (based in the Colts' former home city of Baltimore, Maryland) to make room for 1st overall draft pick Peyton Manning. During the 1998 season, Harbaugh was the starter but would split playing time with eventual bust Eric Zeier. Then he played two years with the San Diego Chargers. In 1999 he led the Chargers to an 8–8 record, but in 2000 the Chargers finished with a 1–15 record behind Harbaugh and first-round bust Ryan Leaf. Harbaugh signed with the Detroit Lions prior to the 2001 season, where he was expected to backup incumbent starter Charlie Batch. However, on the eve of the regular season, the Lions cut him and traded for Ty Detmer. Harbaugh then closed out his NFL career with the Carolina Panthers in 2001, where he dressed for 6 games but did not compile any statistics.

For his NFL career, Harbaugh played in 177 league games with 140 starts. He completed 2,305 of 3,918 passes for 26,288 yards with 129 touchdowns. Particularly during his time with Indianapolis—such as when he led the Colts to come-from-behind wins over the Chiefs and Chargers in 1995–96 NFL playoffs and a near upset over the No. 2 AFC seed Steelers—he earned the nickname "Captain Comeback" (the second player to be so nicknamed after Roger Staubach) for his ability to win games in the fourth quarter after overcoming significant point deficits.

Coaching career[]

Assistant coaching[]

During his final eight seasons in the NFL (1994–2001), Harbaugh was an NCAA-certified unpaid assistant coach under his father, Jack, at Western Kentucky University. Serving as an offensive consultant, he scouted and recruited high school student-athletes throughout several states including Florida, Indiana and Illinois. He was involved in recruiting 17 players on WKU's 2002 Division I-AA national champion team. His father was a football coach for 18 years, including 14 years as head coach at WKU.

Harbaugh was an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders in 2002–2003. In 2002 he was an offensive assistant coach, and in 2003 he was the quarterbacks coach.

University of San Diego[]

Prior to the 2004 season, Harbaugh was named head football coach at the University of San Diego. In his first year, he directed the Toreros to an overall mark of 7–4, including 5 straight wins to end the season. The following year, the team improved to 11–1 and won the 2005 Pioneer Football League Championship. In 2006, USD again went 11–1 winning their second consecutive Pioneer League title in the process.

File:Jim Harbaugh in 2007.jpg

Harbaugh in October 2007

Stanford University[]

Harbaugh was named the head football coach at Stanford University in December 2006, replacing Walt Harris. Harbaugh's father, Jack, was Stanford's defensive coordinator from 1980–1981, while Harbaugh attended Palo Alto High School, located directly across the street from Stanford Stadium.[3][7]

Harbaugh stirred some intra-conference controversy in March 2007, when he was quoted as saying rival USC head coach "Pete Carroll's only got one more year, though. He'll be there one more year. That's what I've heard. I heard it inside the staff." Upon further questions, Harbaugh claimed he had heard it from staff at USC. The comment caused a rebuke from Carroll.[8] (In fact, Carroll would be at USC for three more years.) At the Pacific-10 Conference media day on July 26, 2007, Harbaugh praised the Trojans, stating "There is no question in my mind that USC is the best team in the country and may be the best team in the history of college football." The declaration, especially in light of his earlier comment, garnered more media attention.[9][10] Later in the season, Stanford defeated #1 USC 24–23 with a touchdown in the final minute. With USC being the favorite by 41 points, it was statistically the greatest upset in college football history.[11][12] Although Stanford lost to USC in 2008, Harbaugh and the Stanford Cardinal upset USC at home again with a score of 55–21 on November 14, 2009.[13] Stanford's 55 points are most ever scored on USC in the Trojans' history. It was Pete Carroll's first November loss as USC head coach. Harbaugh joined Kansas State coach Bill Snyder and Oregon's Chip Kelly as the only coaches in college football to have a winning record against Carroll, with a record of 2–1. Harbaugh has never lost in USC's home stadium, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In January 2009, Harbaugh was confirmed to have been interviewed by the New York Jets for the head coach position,[14] although the job was eventually offered to Rex Ryan.[15]

In 2009, the Cardinal had a comeback season, finishing the regular season at 8–4, finishing #21 in the polls, and receiving an invitation to play in the 2009 Sun Bowl, the Cardinal's first bowl appearance since 2001. Running back Toby Gerhart was named a Heisman Trophy finalist, finishing second to Mark Ingram in the closest margin of voting in Heisman history. On December 13, 2009, Harbaugh was rewarded with a three-year contract extension through the 2014 season.[16]

The 2010 season brought more success for Harbaugh and the Cardinal. The team went 11–1 in the regular season, with their only loss coming from Oregon, a team that was undefeated and earned a berth in the BCS National Championship Game. The first 11 win season in program history earned the Cardinal a #4 BCS ranking and a BCS bowl invitation to the Orange Bowl. Stanford defeated Virginia Tech 40–12 for the Cardinal's first bowl win since 1996 and the first BCS bowl victory in program history.[17] Second year starting quarterback Andrew Luck was the runner-up to for the Heisman Trophy, the second year in a row that the runner-up was from Stanford. Harbaugh was named the winner of the Woody Hayes Coach of the Year Award.

San Francisco 49ers[]

On January 7, 2011, just four days after winning the Orange Bowl, Harbaugh agreed to a 5-year $25 million contract to become the next head coach for the San Francisco 49ers.[18] He succeeded Jim Tomsula, who was interim head coach for only the last game of the preceding season after succeeding the fired Mike Singletary.

Personal life[]

Harbaugh comes from a coaching family, and is the son of college football coach Jack Harbaugh. Jim Harbaugh has five children: Jay, (an undergraduate at Oregon State University and a student intern for the Oregon State Beavers football team[19]); another son, James, and three young daughters, Grace, Addison and Katherine. His brother John is the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens and his brother-in-law, Tom Crean, is head coach of the Indiana University men's basketball team.

He has been very active in community service ventures. He has been actively involved with the Harbaugh Hill Foundation, the Riley Hospital, Western Kentucky University, the Jim Harbaugh Foundation, the Uhlich's Children's Home and the Children's Miracle Network.

Harbaugh is co-owner of Panther Racing in the IndyCar Series. The main car for the team carries Harbaugh's old jersey number, 4. When the team won the 2001 and 2002 IRL championship, the team, which had the option of going to #1, chose instead to keep the #4 for its association with Harbaugh's career.

In 1982, Harbaugh graduated from Palo Alto High School (aka Paly), located across from Stanford University.

Head coaching record[]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
San Diego Toreros (Pioneer Football League) (2004–2006)
2004 San Diego 7–4 4–1 2nd
2005 San Diego 11–1 4–0 1st
2006 San Diego 11–1 7–0 1st
San Diego: 29–6 15–1
Stanford Cardinal (Pacific-10 Conference) (2007–2010)
2007 Stanford 4–8 3–6 T–7th
2008 Stanford 5–7 4–5 T–6th
2009 Stanford 8–5 6–3 T–2nd L Sun
2010 Stanford 12–1 8–1 2nd W Orange 4 4
Stanford: 29–21 21–15
Total: 58–27
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


Team Year Regular season Post season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SF 2011 13 3 0 .813 1st NFC West 1 1 .500 Lost NFC Championship
SF Total 13 3 0 .813
Total 13 3 0 .813


  1. The Detroit Free Press, "Preparing To Be A-Maized", by Mark Snyder and David Jesse, December 29, 2014, page B1
  2. Jim Harbaugh introduced as Michigan Wolverines' football coach. (2014-12-30). Retrieved on 2016-03-08.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Emmons, Mark. "Cardinal coach's energy, intensity level always in the red", 2010-12-29. Retrieved on 2011-01-31. 
  4. Miller, Rusty. "Controversies have followed Ohio State-Michigan rivalry through the years", 13 November 2007. Retrieved on 25 November 2010. 
  5. 2009 Division I Football Records Book: Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Records. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved on 2010-07-09.
  6. 2009 Division I Football Records Book: Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Records. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved on 2010-07-09.
  7. Template:Cite press release
  8. Miller, Ted (April 7, 2007). Spring look around the Pac-10. Retrieved on 2007-11-07.
  9. Trojans top preseason poll for fifth straight year. Associated Press (July 26, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-11-07.
  10. Forde, Pat (July 27, 2007). Harbaugh declaration delivers Pac-10 jolt. Retrieved on 2007-11-07.
  11. Jake Curtis. "Upset for the Ages – Stanford Stunner: The Cardinal, 41-point underdogs, pull off an inconceivable win over No. 2-ranked USC", San Francisco Chronicle, October 7, 2007. 
  12. Mark Schlabach. "Strong personalities leading teams down the stretch", ESPN, November 16, 2009. 
  13. Klein, Gary (November 14, 2009). USC's November reign ends with shocking 55–21 loss to Stanford. Retrieved on 2009-11-16.
  14. Bonjour, Douglas. "Rumor Roundup: Coaching Search Winding Down",, 2009-01-14. Retrieved on 2009-04-27. 
  15. Evans, Simon. "Jets appoint Rex Ryan as new head coach", Reuters, 2009-01-19. Retrieved on 2009-04-27. 
  16. Harbaugh, Stanford have 3-year deal. Retrieved on 2009-12-13.
  17. "Stanford Post-Game Notes vs. Virginia Tech, January 3, 2011", CBS Interactive, 2011-01-03. Retrieved on 2011-01-07. 
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named sf49ers
  19. Eggers, Kerry. "This Harbaugh will root for OSU, not Stanford", Portland Tribune, 2008-08-25. Retrieved on 2008-09-02. 

External links[]