College basketball coach Tom Crean, who was just fired by Indiana University, is married to Joani Harbaugh. She comes from a family of coaches, as her father Jack was head coach of Western Kentucky University football when Crean was a basketball assistant at the same school. Her older brothers are Jim and John Harbaugh.
Crean was Indiana’s coach for nine seasons, but only made it to the Sweet 16 three times during his tenure. They haven’t made the NCAA tournament in the past four seasons.
“After deliberative thought and evaluation, including multiple meetings with Tom about the future, I have decided to make a change in the leadership of our men’s basketball program,” Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement. “Tom Crean brought us through one of the most challenging periods in IU basketball history, led his players to many successes in the classroom and on the court and represented our university with class and integrity.”
Here’s what you need to know about the 49-year-old Harbaugh.
1. Her Older Brothers are Football Coaches Jim & John Harbaugh
Her older brothers are also coaches in football. John is the Super Bowl-winning head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, while Jim is the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. Jim was also the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, who lost to the John’s Ravens at Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
Harbaugh and Crean have three children, Megan, 21; Riley, 17 and Ainsley, 11.
In an interview with the New York Times in 2013, Harbaugh said she didn’t plan on ending up marrying a coach. It just happened!
“I don’t know how that happened,” she told the Times. “It was not a plan. Twenty years ago, we were all different people. Twenty years ago, we were all scrapping and scraping to make a few bucks.”
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2. She Had no Athletic Talent Growing Up
Joani is six years younger than John and five years younger than Jim, notes the Mercury News. She told the paper that she never tried to keep up with them in sports. She played volleyball and softball, but never wanted to follow them into professional sports.
“I had no athletic talent. None. I just tried to participate the best I could,” Harbaugh told the Mercury News. “I just think they were being really nice to me and letting me hang out.”
In that same interview, she said that she was at least happy that she didn’t marry a football coach.
“I’m not sure what I was thinking,” she told the Mercury News. “At least I added a different sport.”
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3. John Said She Was the Favorite Child Growing Up
As The New York Times notes, John has said that Harbaugh was the favorite child growing up. After all, she had her own room.
According to the Mercury News, the family lived in a small home in Iowa in the 1970s. Jim thought it was the smallest house he’d ever seen, but his father joked that it was great because the brothers would share a room.
One time, she annoyed her brothers by memorizing all the lines to a Wizard of Oz play even though she was only playing a Munchkin who tells Dorothy “Follow the yellow brick road.” “But she knew everyone else’s (lines) and she had all the inflections down. She would just do it around the house for about a year,” John said in 2011.
In the 2013 Times profile, she confirmed that the story was true. “I was highly, highly offended” to be cast as a munchkin, she said. “I do remember that I was not Dorothy or Glinda, so I decided to memorize the entire play. In case anybody went down with the flu or something, they could put me in there. So I was just ready, ready to go.”
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4. She Was Friends With coach Bill McCartney’s Daughter in School
As The Detroit Free Press notes, Harbaugh was friends with Kristy McCartney, the daughter of College Football Hall of Fame coach Bill McCartney. The two went to St. Francis of Assisi elementary school in Ann Arbor, Michigan together. Harbaugh’s older brothers also babysat Bill McCartney’s children.
Harbaugh graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.
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5. She Says That the Happiness of Her Kids Comes Before Basketball Wins or Losses
In a 2012 interview with the Indiana Daily Student, Harbaugh said that the most important thing in her life is making sure her children are happy.
“I’ve learned that in the grand scheme of things that the happiness of my kids needs to come before whether or not Indiana loses or wins a basketball game, and that’s taken quite a few years,” she told the Daily Student.
“You have to, as a parent, remember that your kids are going through changes in their life. I’ve got one in puberty, another one who’s driving and one who’s six. Balance? I don’t know if I have an answer to that question.”
However, in that same interview, Harbaugh added, “I’ll be honest… we don’t live a life without Tom’s job.”
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