Baltimore Ravens

Ten years ago (Jan. 18, 2008): Ravens hire John Harbaugh

Special teams coordinator John Harbaugh of the Philadelphia Eagles stands on the sideline during the game against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 4, 2006 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

John Harbaugh was hired by the Ravens yesterday in a bold move that gives the longtime assistant coach his first head-coaching opportunity.

The Ravens will introduce the 45-year-old Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach, who comes from a football family, during a news conference at noon today.

Harbaugh, who has never been in charge of an offense or a defense in the National Football League, made a name for himself as a special-teams coach.

"It's not a well-traveled path, but we'll prove special-teams coordinators can coach," Harbaugh told Philadelphia radio station WIP a half-hour after being hired. "But a football coach is a football coach. I guess the Ravens saw something they liked."

Harbaugh, who was not made available to local reporters yesterday, left in a limousine for Philadelphia and will return today for the news conference.

Considered a dark-horse candidate when the Ravens' search began, Harbaugh impressed team officials with his intense coaching style and magnetic personality.

The hiring of Harbaugh ends the Ravens' 18-day search for a coach. He will become the third coach in Ravens history, replacing Brian Billick, who was fired Dec. 31 after nine seasons with the team.

"We have the head coach, and we're very excited about it," Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said.

An NFL source said Harbaugh will sign a four-year deal worth $2 million to $2.5 million a season, typical for a first-year coach.


Art Modell

Harbaugh has built a reputation as an energetic teacher who gets the most out of his players.

He shifted to secondary coach this season to give himself a better chance to become a head coach. He had spent the previous nine seasons coaching the Eagles' special teams. Before joining Philadelphia's staff, Harbaugh held a variety of college jobs for 13 years.

"I couldn't be happier for John and his entire family," Eagles head coach Andy Reid said. "He has worked very hard to become a head coach in the National Football League. I know how much this means to him. He is very deserving of this opportunity, and we will miss him in Philadelphia. I wish him all the best in Baltimore."

Others interviewed by the Ravens were former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan; Dallas Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano, who was hired by the Miami Dolphins; New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer; and Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell, who withdrew.

"When you're in this process of finding a head coach, you're kind of in limbo as a team," Ravens tight end Todd Heap said. "Now, we can finally go forward. It's going to be an exciting time."