Jim Harbaugh has been around football for his entire life.
He grew up with it, played the sport and, now, has built his entire career around coaching it. But when you grow up around a single game at the forefront of your mind, what exactly is your family like? They must be pretty sports-minded as well, right? When it comes to Harbaugh, the answer is a resounding yes.
A coaching dad, a football mom, a rival brother and a sister who added a whole new sport branch to the family are just the tip of the athletic iceberg that is Harbaugh’s life.
Here’s what you need to know about the football-focused Harbaugh family:
1. Harbaugh’s Father, Jack, Was Head Coach at Western Kentucky University
The sports apple did not fall far from the sports-related tree. Harbaugh’s father, Jack, was a long-time football player and coach, whose career on the sidelines took his family across the country. Both Jim and his brother John were born in Toledo when Jack was an assistant coach at Perrysburgh High School.
Jack played college football at Bowling Green State and played professionally for one season in the American Football League before turning his attention to coaching.
Over the course of his 40-plus year career, Jack served as an assistant coach at programs like Iowa, Michigan and Stanford and was the head coach at Western Kentucky from 1989 – 2002. Overall, he posted a 117-94-3 coaching record.
Jack and his wife Jacqueline now live in Wisconsin – part of the reason he served as an associate athletic director at Marquette University after leaving Western Kentucky.
2. He Has Six Children, Including Three With Ex-Wife Miah Harbaugh
Harbaugh married Miah Harbaugh in 1996 and the pair welcomed three children before their divorce in 2012. The couple tied the knot while Harbaugh was coach at the University of San Diego and he credited her with much of his early success. The coach told San Diego Family in 1998:
How did I manage? Miah did most of the work. I really love my family. My wife does a lot of the work. God bless her
Although the marriage didn’t last, Harbaugh and Miah are both incredibly proud of their three children and what they’ve accomplished. Oldest son Jay is a graduate of Oregon State and is the latest Harbaugh to stand on the sidelines, joining his dad as the tight ends coach at Michigan. Daughter Grace just recently turned 15 and youngest son James, his namesake, is nearly nine.
3. Harbaugh Married Sarah Feuerborn in 2008
Harabugh found love a second time in 2006 when he met Sarah Feuerborn in the parking lot of a Las Vegas PF Chang’s. That’s a real story. The pair were married in 2008 and have three children together; Addison, Katherine and Jack. Although it wasn’t always marital bliss. In fact, it took some time for Sarah to warm up to the long-time coach. According to her brother, Marty Feuerborn:
When he first started talking to her she wouldn’t talk to him. He chased her and chased her. Sarah says to this day if he hadn’t done that this wouldn’t be here.
Sarah and Jim joined forces late in 2014 for a Dockers commercial, poking fun at the coach’s penchant for “dad pants.”
4. His Sister Joani Is Married to Indiana Basketball Coach Tom Crean
Even Harbaugh’s extended family is part of the sports world. His sister, Joani, is married to Indiana University basketball coach Tom Crean.
As the story goes, the two met while Jack Harbaugh was the head football coach at Western Kentucky University. Crean was an assistant basketball coach there at the same time. The two met through a mutual friend, Ron Burns, at a gym where Joani was working as an aerobics instructor.
Crean said his wife is just as competitive, and sports-minded as her more famous brothers, telling The New York Times:
She’s opinionated, very smart and she doesn’t like to be wrong; she rarely is. She’ll race our kids in the pool and she’s not letting our two oldest beat her in anything. She wants to win. Joani is not going to lose an argument. To grow up in that house, you had to be competitive
Crean and Joani have three children together, Megan, Riley and Ainsley.
5. Harbaugh & His Brother Jim Were the First Siblings to Serve as NFL Head Coaches
The Harbaugh brothers made history. John, the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, and Jim became the first siblings to both coach NFL teams and then added to their collective legacy in 2013 when they became the first siblings to coach against each other in the Super Bowl.
John, the older Harbaugh, defeated Jim and his San Francscio 49ers with a slim 34-31 victory in a game that included everything from a power outage to questionable play calls down the stretch.
Speaking to his brother’s football team at Michigan this spring, John recounted how he approached the post-game handshake following his Super Bowl victory. He went in for the handshake with his right hand and a hug with his left arm. Jim was having none of it. According to his brother Jim simply told him, “There will be no hug…Congratulations.”
Sometimes rivalries can’t ever really die.