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Super Bowl has local flavor (01-29-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor   
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 09:58
Jim Harbaugh (second from right in the back row) and John Harbaugh (right in the front row) played youth hockey in Bowling Green. (Photo provided)
Sunday's Super Bowl will have a Bowling Green and Perrysburg flavor.
Former Falcon football player and assistant coach Jack Harbaugh is the father of the two head coaches in the game.
Harbaugh's sons - John of the Baltimore Ravens and Jim of the San Francisco 49yers - played youth hockey in BG and attended school at St. Aloysius.
Jack Harbaugh also met his wife, Jackie, at the university.
He started his coaching career as an assistant at Perrysburg High School during the 1962 and 1963 seasons.
Jack Harbaugh first came to BG as a quarterback and as a defensive back, earning letters in 1958, 1959 and 1960. The Falcons were 24-3 during that time, winning the small college national championship in 1959.
He then served as assistant coach at BG from 1968-70. He also lettered twice in baseball at BG and was drafted by the American Football League's Buffalo Bills in 1961.
"He worked hard at the game and he knew the game, and when you put those two things together with his enthusiasm, that's what made him a good coach," said Jim Ruehl Sr., who coached with Harbaugh at BGSU. 
Harbaugh later was the head coach at Western Michigan. He had a 26-26-3 record from 1982-86 and also was the head coach at Western Kentucky where he was 91-68 from 1989-2002. His WKU tenure included three 10-win seasons and a NCAA Division I-AA championship.
After leaving WKU, Harbaugh was an associate athletics director at Marquette University. Jack Harbaugh and his wife still live in the Milwaukee area.
He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from BG in 1961 and master's in health and physical education in 1964 from BG.
"He was a pretty intense football player and a fun-loving guy off the field," said Ruehl, who still talks to Harbaugh and his wife regularly. "He was just a great person. He had a lot of fun with the players and they loved playing for him. He's a good coach and that's been proven over time. He's had a lot of success.
Jack Harbaugh coached Perrysburg's offensive and defensive backs.
"He had a good personality and the kids liked him," said John "Doc" Thomas, who was an assistant coach with Harbaugh at Perrysburg. "He was a disciplinarian, but if you did things right, you didn't have a problem with him. He knew football and he was wanted things done a certain way. His teams were very disciplined.
"He really got along with the kids well,' Thomas added. "He had a good personality and he cared about them as football players and as students. He would joke with them and talk to them."
Harbaugh left Perrysburg to become the head coach at Eaton High School in the fall of 1964. He was at Eaton for two seasons before going to Xenia as the head coach for one season. He was an assistant at Morehead State for one season before returning to BG in 1968.
"You could tell he wanted to keep moving up in coaching," Thomas said.
The brothers were born in Toledo.
"They were rambunctious, full of energy," said Ruehl, whose sons played with Harbaughs. "Our families, all of the coaches families, and the kids spent a lot of time together. The (Harbaugh boys) were good athletes and they were pretty competitive. They were did well in all sports."
John was born on Sept. 23, 1962 and Jim was born Dec. 23, 1963.
"I don't remember about them a lot since I was only seven when we were teammates," said Marc Olivarez, a youth hockey teammate of Harbaughs. "But we had a pretty good team. All of us on the team were good players and (Harbaughs) were pretty good athletes. It's pretty cool to see them in the Super Bowl."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 11:20

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