The announcement of John Harbaugh as head coach of the Ravens came as a surprise to many.
It certainly came as a surprise to the University of Cincinnati, who interviewed Harbaugh for the top job at their football program, and turned him down, twice.
Harbaugh had a fair history with the Big East school. From the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER:
Harbaugh, who played at Miami University from 1980 to 1983, coached at UC when the program was at one of its lowest points.
He was hired by Murphy in 1989 after Dave Currey had been fired. At the time, the program was on NCAA probation, Nippert Stadium had been condemned, the facilities were second-rate and there was no league affiliation.
Harbaugh helped establish the foundation for a Cincinnati program that won 11 games last season under first-year coach Brian Kelly. Despite Harbaugh’s contributions to the program, he was passed over twice–in 2003 when the Bearcats tapped Ohio State assistant Mark D’Antonio, and again in 2007 when they hired Kelly away from Central Michigan.
But as you would expect, he isn’t exactly unhappy to now be a head coach in the NFL:
“It’s not like you expect to ever get an opportunity like this,” Harbaugh said. “This is something you dream of and work for. But for me, every job I had was the best job I ever had. I was thrilled to be at Morehead State in 1988. I thought that was the best job in the world. We had free golf at UC. We got to play at Pebble Creek. That was big time.”
And I’m sure the Ravens are happy. After Brian Billick, anything’s an upgrade.