Friday, January 18, 2008

The Baltimore Ravens Finally Found Their New Head Coach

John Harbaugh was hired Friday as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, who hope their second choice proves to be a first-rate success.

Harbaugh spent this season as Philadelphia's secondary coach after making a name for himself working with special teams. He has never been a head coach, but has coaching in his genes -- his father, Jack, is former head coach at Western Kentucky and his brother, Jim, is head coach at Stanford and a former quarterback with the Ravens.

The 45-year-old Harbaugh, who received a four-year contract, will be introduced as the third coach in Ravens history at a news conference Saturday. His salary wasn't released, but most first-year NFL head coaches get slightly more than $2 million a season.

Harbaugh arrived at the Ravens training complex around 9:30 a.m. Friday for his second interview with owner Steve Bisciotti, president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome. The sides reached an agreement around 5:30 p.m.

Harbaugh then left in a limousine for his home in Philadelphia without talking to the media. Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said Harbaugh wanted to first share the news with his wife and parents before expressing his feelings in front of cameras and reporters.

Harbaugh replaces Brian Billick, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a nine-year run. The Ravens were 5-11 this season after going 13-3 in 2006.

The Ravens earlier this week offered the job to Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who spurned Baltimore on Thursday in favor of staying in Dallas. Garrett rejected the Ravens' job offer after receiving a raise from owner Jerry Jones and a promotion to assistant head coach.

Harbaugh, however, wasn't about to say no. During his first interview, on Jan. 8, he couldn't contain his excitement over the prospect of leading the franchise back into the playoffs.

"Up, down, sideways, from the very top, it's a very impressive place to visit," Harbaugh said at the time. "I knew the Ravens had a great organization. Now, I see why. Good people, from Ozzie and Steve to everybody in the organization. It's been challenging, but it has been fun."

Harbaugh coached in the college ranks at Miami University (Ohio), Western Michigan, Pittsburgh, Morehead State and Cincinnati before joining the Eagles in 1998. He was selected the NFL Special Teams Coach of the Year by his peers in 2001.

He shifted to the secondary this season, working under defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.

Now, I have one obvious question in regards to this hiring. Why would the Ravens hire a defensive coordinator when offense was a major problem with this team last year?

1 comment:

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