Jack Harbaugh, father to Torero head coach Jim Harbaugh, has joined the Torero staff where he will be an offensive assistant. Harbaugh, a veteran of 42 years in the coaching ranks - 37 of those at the college level - returns to the USD sidelines after being here in 2004 as the team's Assistant Head Coach and running backs coach. Prior to that he hadn't coached since leading the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to the NCAA I-AA National Championship in 2002. Following that magical season Harbaugh stepped away from coaching and for the past two seasons has held the position of Associate Director of Athletics at Marquette University.
In 2002 he led the Hilltoppers to a 12-3 record and a 34-14 victory over McNeese State in the title contest on December 20th. WKU won their final six regular-season games to reach the playoffs. Seeded 15th among the 16 teams, the Hilltoppers won three in a row to set up a rematch against the top-seeded McNeese State Cowboys. WKU had been beaten by the Cowboys 38-13 during the regular season. The win over McNeese State was the program's 10th straight, a new school record. For his efforts, Harbaugh was selected the American Coaches Association 2002 National Coach of the Year.
Harbaugh joined the Hilltoppers as head coach in February 1989 after two seasons as assistant head coach at the University of Pittsburgh. In 14 seasons on the Hill, he compiled a 91-68 mark, including seven consecutive winning seasons and four NCAA I-AA playoff berths in six years. He was selected the AFCA Region 3, and Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year, and finished third in the voting for the Eddie Robinson Award, given to the top coach in I-AA, after leading WKU to an 11-2 mark and the league title in 2000. He was also named the 1997 Division I-AA Independents and AFCA Region 3 Coach of the Year.
Under his guidance, WKU was the only I-AA school in the nation to rank in the top 10 in rushing offense every year since 1991, a run that stood at 12 straight through the 2002 campaign. Additionally, thirty-three WKU student-athletes earned All-America recognition, including three who were named first- or second-team Academic All-America.
Harbaugh's WKU teams ranked among the most productive offensive squads in Western's history, posting some of the most impressive performances ever on the Hill, in both single-game and season-long numbers. His 2000 club (11-2) finished with a final national ranking of 5th; his '98 Toppers, powered by one of I-AA fooball's most potent offenses - third in the nation in rushing (344.6 ypg) and ninth in scoring (36.0 points per game) - finished the year 7-4 and 19th in the nation; and his '97 squad went 10-2, finished ranked 7th in the nation, and led the nation in rushing with a school-record 332.0 yards per game.
Harbaugh's other head coaching position was with Western Michigan from 1982 through 1986. He was a collective 25-27-3 at Western Michigan with his best showing coming in 1982 when his squad finished 7-2-2, good for a second place finish in the Mid-American Conference. His overall record as a head coach for 19 years is 116-95-3. He held assistant coaching positions with Pittsburgh, Michigan, Iowa, Stanford, Bowling Green State and Morehead State.
Harbaugh served as defensive backfield coach for the legendary Bo Schembechler at Michigan for seven years (1973-79). Those Wolverine teams won five Big Ten Championships (1973, 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979). Michigan played in the 1976 Orange Bowl and made three trips to the Rose Bowl ('77, '78 and '79). His seven Wolverine teams were 66-13-3 (.823) overall.
A native of Crestline, Ohio, he is a graduate of Crestline High (1957) where he was a four-year letterman and an all-state quarterback as a senior. CHS won conference championships in both his junior and senior seasons. And, he lettered twice in basketball and four times in baseball, where he was an all-state shortstop.
He went on to play college football at Bowling Green State, lettering three times as a defensive back and quarterback. BGSU went 24-3-2 in his three varsity seasons and the Falcons were small college national champs (9-0-0) his junior year. He also lettered twice in baseball. In 1961, he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League.
Harbaugh holds a B.S. degree (1961) in physical education and a M.E. in health and physical education (1964) from Bowling Green State. He and his wife, Jackie, also a BGSU alumnus, have three grown children - John, an assistant football coach with the Philadelphia Eagles; Jim, current USD head coach; and Joani, married to Tom Crean, current head men's basketball coach at Marquette University. Harbaugh has six grandchildren, Megan and Riley Crean; Jay, Jim, Jr. and Grace Harbaugh; and, Alison Harbaugh.
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