Ingrid Harbaugh was working in the office of the baseball team at a small Michigan college when she first met her future husband. Fast forward nearly 30 years and Ingrid and John Harbaugh are parents, partners and two of the most prominent faces in the entire NFL.
Harbaugh, the coach of the Baltimore Ravens, has frequently praised his wife for her dedication to helping his career and working to keep their family organized and cheering on the sidelines. Here’s what you need to know about Ingrid:
1. John & Ingrid First Met in 1985 at Western Michigan University
John Harbaugh was working as a graduate assistant for his father, Jack, at Western Michigan University in 1985. Ingrid, meanwhile, was working in the school’s baseball office as a student assistant. The copier broke. John walked across the campus and helped Ingrid fix it. The rest is romance history.
John explained the evolution of his relationship with Ingrid, saying:
That’s how it all started. I knew from the beginning, because I appreciated the depth of her personality and character. We were both young and still figuring out where we stood on things. I knew she had a good heart.
The pair started dating and while on a recruiting trip John made a side trip to a jewelry store. He picked out a ring and put it on the trunk of a stuffed elephant doll. When he handed Ingrid the gift, she noticed and, as John put it, “I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.”
2. The Pair Have One Daughter Together, Alison
The Harbaughs are parents to one daughter, Alison, who is 11 years old. Both Ingrid and Alison are frequently spotted in the stands at Baltimore Ravens home games. Earlier this year, Harbaugh gave the keynote speech at the Stevenson University commencement, discussing both his wife and daughter:
I have the greatest daughter and the greatest wife in the history of the world. I pray that blessing for you as well. You’ve done something really special. Congratulations. Be grateful. Thank your creator every morning. There’s no greater gift than the gift of life. It’s an awesome thing you’ve been granted. Go make the most of it.
Although John is almost always working, he does make time during the offseason to reorganize his schedule and allow the family a week-long vacation at Disney World.
3. Ingrid & John Have a Pre-Game Ritual Before Each Ravens Home Game
Ingrid Harbaugh has said that being the wife of an NFL coach is stressful. That, of course, makes sense. After all, John Harbaugh is working more often than not, determined to get his Baltimore Ravens back in the Super Bowl.
So, what does the long-time couple do to make sure that the spark in their relationship doesn’t go out? They have a pre-game ritual.
According to Ingrid she and John signal each other before each Ravens home game, blowing each other a kiss before the very first snap. They’ve also got a pretty good track record with the tradition. “This is funny,” she said, “but if we miss it, we’ve lost.”
4. The Harbaughs Are Good Friends With Fellow NFL Coach Steve Spagnuolo & His Wife
The NFL world may seem big and expansive from the outside looking in and, to some extent, it is. But it’s also a close-knit community, one that finds coaches, and their wives, building friendships with the same people they call competitors on Sundays.
For Ingrid and John Harbaugh, two of those closest friends are New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and his wife Maria. In fact, Spagnuolo even once referred to Harbaugh as someone akin to a brother. That almost changed several years ago, however, when Harbaugh and his Baltimore Ravens pounded the St. Louis Rams 37-7 when Spagnuolo was still head coach. He told the St. Louis-Post Dispatch:
It’s funny. I’ll be very open and honest here. During the game and toward the end I felt that way. Even when I was home with Maria, I said, ‘We’re not ever talking to him again,'” Spagnuolo said. “But when I came in this morning and got a full night’s rest, I don’t believe that. I’m not so sure that isn’t the exact way you do it.
The friendship survived though and the two couples remain close to this day – after the pain of losing wore off, of course.
5. Ingrid Has Embraced the NFL Spotlight
Although her role as an NFL coach’s wife may be more than just a little stressful, Ingrid has embraced the pro football spotlight, particularly when John and the Baltimore Ravens competed in the 2013 Super Bowl.
The year before, Ingrid, joined her by her sister-in-law Sarah Harbaugh, helped design and auction off 25 Limited Edition Skinny Cow Cady Bowls, raising money for the CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. She also shared some of her best game-day recipes, including “Grandma Miller” dip, which includes everything from Worcestershire sauce to Tabasco and olives.
So, what’s the key to being around football so much? Enjoying it. Ingrid had some tips for fellow women, saying, “If you want to spend four hours with your husband on Sunday, you may want to watch a game with them and start to understand it.”
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