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The Harbaugh’s father, Jack — like his sons — coached against the Herd on numerous occasions.
Jack Harbaugh has coached many times against the Thundering Herd, and will see his two sons square off in the Super Bowl, a first-ever meeting of brothers as head coaches in the NFL's championship. (courtesy of Western Kentucky University)
He was an assistant coach in 1967 at Morehead (Ky.) State, beating the long-time rivals from Marshall at home in the Sept. 16 opener for both teams, 30-6, of what would be a final 0-10 season for MU head coach Charlie Snyder, captain of the Marshall 1948 Tangerine Bowl team.
Jack would next coach against the Herd as an assistant to Don Nehlen at Bowling Green (1968-70), where the elder Harbaugh (like Nehlen) had starred for the Falcons.
In 1959, 9-0 Bowling Green not only won the MAC, but won the NCAA College Division National Championship Jack’s junior year, when he was both quarterback and defensive back.
As a player at Bowling Green, Jack’s Falcons beat the Herd three-straight times, starting with a win at home in 1958 (21-7) under Marshall Coach Herb Royer, beat the Herd at Fairfield Stadium in Huntington (51-7) in 1959 and beat the Herd a final time at Doyt Perry Stadium at BGSU, 14-7, in 1960, the final two wins coming in Charlie Snyder’s first two seasons at the Marshall helm.
In 1968, BGSU beat Marshall 54-28, part of an 0-9-1 season for the Thundering Herd under Coach Perry Moss.
Marshall would turn the tables at home in the Homecoming game in 1969, not only beating Bowling Green 21-16 to end an 0-26-1 streak (back to the 1966 season) but spurring Coach Rick Tolley’s Herd to a three-game win streak after all those loses.
In 1970, BGSU and Jack Harbaugh took a heartbreaker from the Herd, as Marshall lost 26-24.
Tolley took a safety rather than punt from his own end zone, and the Falcons took the free kick and turned it into a 38-yard field goal with just over a minute left for the win.
Marshall lost many of its team, coaches, administrators and fans just two weeks later, when 75 persons were killed on the Herd football charter returning from East Carolina on Nov. 14, 1970.
Marshall would not see Jack again until 1982, his first year as head coach at Western Michigan, bringing the Broncos into Fairfield Stadium against Coach Sonny Randle’s Herd and getting a 34-0 shutout of Marshall, as the MU team went 3-8 that final season in Division I-A football before the Southern Conference was one of many leagues dropped to I-AA status for 1983.
Stan Parrish took his Herd to Kalamazoo to meet WMU on Sept. 29, 1984, and the Broncos kicker Mike Prindle hit seven field goals to set an NCAA all-divisions record in a rout of the Herd, 42-7, with the Beach Boys performing at midfield at Waldo Stadium after the game.
Prindle was determined by his coach to have made 20 kicks for the day including kickoffs, while starting WMU quarterback, Steve Hoffman, had thrown only 21 passes.
Jack Harbaugh commented after the game, “It’s the only time I know of that we had to ice the kicker’s leg instead of the quarterback’s arm,” and Prindle was named to the WMU All-Century Team, hitting 55 consecutive points-after touchdown at Western Michigan.
Jack was 26-26-3 at Western Michigan, 1982-86, replaced by Al Molde in 1987 (when your author was the Broncos equipment manager for a year, 1987-88, going 5-6 that year before winning the MAC in ’88).
Harbaugh was next a head coach, after two seasons as an assistant at Pitt, at Western Kentucky, from 1989-2002.
In 1996, he brought the Hilltoppers to the Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington to play not only one of the best teams in Marshall history, but perhaps the best team ever in I-AA history.
On Sept. 28, 1996, Marshall rolled the Hilltoppers in the fourth game of what would be a perfect, 15-0, No. 1 in I-AA from start to finish year, beating WKU 37-3 on the way to the Herd’s second National Championship and third SoCon title in football.
Randy Moss starred for the Thundering Herd in both 1996 and 1997 (shown). (Herd Insider file photo)
Randy Moss, a freshman at Marshall, scored the opening touchdown on a pass from Florida transfer and senior quarterback of the Herd, Erik Kresser, and Moss is now playing for his son, Jim, for the 49ers.
That was a fairly quiet day for Moss, with two catches for 17 yards, but Doug Chapman rushed for 131 yards and a 19-yard score, Mark Wicks caught a 35-yard touchdown, Llow Turner rushed for 59 yards on five carries and a 15-yard score while Tim Openlander kicked three field goals, from 22, 42 and 37 yards.
Harbaugh posted a 91-68 record at WKU, won the Ohio Valley Conference title in 2000, then won the 2002 Gateway Football Conference co-championship and went on to also win the FCS (I-AA) National Championship in his final season in 2002.
Jack Harbaugh posted an overall record of 117-94-3, and was the AFCA FCS Coach of the Year in 2002.
Jim Harbaugh will coach Randy Moss, C.J. Spillman and the rest of the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, Feb. 3, a 6:30 p.m. kickoff. (courtesy of Stanford Athletics)
His son, Jim Harbaugh, became the head coach of the 49ers in 2011.
His first team was 13-3, falling to the New York Giants in last year’s NFC Championship, and is 3-1 in the post-season in two years in San Francisco.
He played in the NFL from 1987-2001, for Chicago, Indianapolis, Baltimore (1998), San Diego, Detroit and Carolina, as a first round draft pick out of Michigan by the Chicago Bears.
He began as an assistant at Western Kentucky for his father from 1994-2001 (and also part of the 37-3 loss at MU) then was the quarterbacks coach with the Oakland Raiders from 2002-03.
Jim Harbaugh was then hired as the head coach at the University of San Diego (29-6, 2004-06), winning two Pioneer Conference (Div. I, non-scholarship) titles with 11-1/7-0 PC seasons in 2005 and ’06. His overall record was 29-6 with the Toreros.
He was then the head coach at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calf. (29-21, 2007-2010), advancing the Cardinal to the Sun Bowl in 2000 and winning the Jan. 1, 2011 Orange Bowl with a 12-1 team that finished second for the second year in a row in the PAC-10.
Jim hired his father as a backfield coach for the Stanford win in the Orange Bowl, a 40-12 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Jim’s college head coaching record was 58-27 overall.
John Harbaugh will coach Albert McClellan, Omar Brown and the rest of the Baltimore Ravens in the upcoming Super Bowl, against his brother - Jim - and the San Francisco 49ers. (Courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens)
John Harbaugh has been the Head Coach of the Baltimore Ravens since 2008, named as the franchises third head coach on Jan. 19 of that year after serving time as a player and assistant in college before moving into the NFL.
John had his first run in with the Thundering Herd in 1980, two years ahead of his father, going up against Randle’s second Marshall team as a player.
Harbaugh was a defensive back for the Miami-Ohio Redskins from 1980-83, and the Herd traveled to Oxford, Ohio for game five of the ’80 season, falling to Miami at Yeager Stadium.
The Redskins were 5-6 in 1980, 8-2-1 in 1981, 7-4 in 1982 and 4-7 in 1983, under Tom Reed the first three years, then Tim Rose for John’s senior season.
Miami beat up the Herd in 1980, 34-6, with Barry Childers two field goals, from 44 and 27 yards out, being the lone scores for the 2-8-1 Marshall team, as the Redskins rushed for 266 yards and passed for another 164 yards.
Ron Lear was the first freshman walk-on to rush for 1,000 yards when he gained 1,162 yards in 1979. (Herd Insider file photo)
Ron “The Jet” Lear rushed 16 times for 84 yards, but Herd quarterback Tony Konopka threw three interceptions, and the Herd lost two of three fumbles in the last meeting with Miami-Ohio until the Herd rejoined the Mid-American Conference in 1997.
John then spent time coaching as an assistant, starting at Western Michigan (1984-86, for his father) and at Pitt (1987, coaching with his father), then going to Morehead State in 1988.
John’s MSU Eagles team, under head coach Bill Baldridge, would lose to the Thundering Herd in the opener for George Chaump’s’ 1988 Herd, 30-17, in a driving rainstorm, thanks to three Dewey Klein field goals in his first game at Marshall, just a couple of weeks after coming to Marshall in the middle of August camp.
The Herd also got a touchdown from Ron Darby and Michael Bryant, who combined for 222 rushing yards, and one passing TD to tight end Sean Doctor from MU QB John Gregory, just weeks after a motorcycle wreck for the quarterback left him with foot, ankle and leg injuries.
Gregory led the Herd to an 8-0 start, its first No. 1 ranking in I-AA and the co-championship of the Southern Conference, finishing 11-2.
Next stop for John Harbaugh was as an assistant at Cincinnnati (1989-96) and at Indiana in 1997, before signing on as an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1998-2007, coaching alongside of former Marshall tight end and Eagles long-snapper Mike Bartrum (2000-06) as well as former MU lineman Giradie Mercer (Eagles 2000-01) and former Herd receivers David Foye (Eagles camp in 2002) and Denero Marriott (Eagles camp in 2003).
He was hired in Baltimore in 2008, and has posted a 54-26 regular season record.
He has gone 8-4 in the playoffs, including wins this year at home over Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, 24-9, at Denver over Peyton Manning and the Broncos, 38-35, and at New England over Tom Brady and the Pats, 28-13, advancing to the Super Bowl as a No. 4 seed in the AFC.
The Harbaugh’s, Jack and wife, Jackie, have a daughter, Joani, who is an elementary teacher and is married to Tom Crean, the current coach of No. 1 Indiana basketball and former coach at Marquette.
Baltimore Ravens beat New England Patriots, 28-13, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. Ravens are 1-0 all-time in Super Bowls, winning SB XXXV over the New York Giants, 34-7, with linebacker Ray Lewis being named the MVP of the 2001 game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
Albert McClellan has had 36 tackles and 11 starts this season with the Ravens. (Courtesy Baltimore Ravens)
Albert McClellan (50) played at Marshall 2005-2009, first team All-Conference USA 2006, 2008, C-USA Defensive Player of Year 2006, second team All-C-USA 2009 Second season at linebacker in Baltimore. 1 tackle vs. New England Patriots; Regular Season — 14 games, 11 games started, 36 solos, 13 assists, 49 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 fumbles recovered, 1 forced fumble (5 tackles at Philadelphia, Sept. 16, vs. Cleveland, Sept. 27 and vs. Denver, Dec. 16); Career 2011-12, 30 games, 68 tackles, 51 solo, 17 assists, 1.0 sacks, 2 PD, 2 FR, FF. 2010 practice squad, led team with 12 special teams tackles in 2011, first start vs. San Francisco Nov. 24, 2011. Baltimore 2010-12.
Omar Brown (in his old No. 45, now wearing No. 38) played in three games at the end of the regular season for the Ravens, posting three tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. (courtesy Baltimore Ravens)
Omar Brown (38) played at Marshall 2008-11, first team All-Conference USA 2011; rookie safety. Brown was not active for game vs. Patriots — Regular Season 3 games (last three of season), 2 solo, 1 assist, 3 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 fumble recovered (FR vs. Denver, Dec. 16; sack vs. NY Giants, Dec. 23), Baltimore 2012.
San Francisco 49ers beat Atlanta Falcons, 28-24, in Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga. 49ers are 5-0 in Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XXIX over San Diego Chargers, 49-26 (QB Steve Young, MVP) in 1995 at Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Fla.; winning Super Bowl XXIV over Denver Broncos, 55-10 (QB Joe Montana, MVP) at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans in 1990; winning Super Bowl XXIII over Cincinnati Bengals, 20-16 (WR Jerry Rice, MVP) at Joe Robbie Stadium, Maimi Fla. in 1989; winning Super Bowl XIX over Miami Dolphins, 38-16 (Joe Montana, MVP) at Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, Calif.; and winning Super Bowl XVI over the Bengals, 26-21 (Joe Montana, MVP) at Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Mich.
Randy Moss retired before the 2011 season, but came out of retirement and has a chance to win his first Super Bowl with the 49ers in two weeks. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
Randy Moss (84) played at Marshall 1996-97, two-time consensus All-American (I-AA ’96 and in I-A ’97), first team All-Southern Conference and All-Mid-American Conference, MAC Offensive Player of Year, MAC MVP, Warfield Award and Biletnikoff Award winner and Woodson Award and Heisman Award finalist. 14 seasons wide receiver. In game against Atlanta, 3 catches, 46 yards vs. Atlanta Falcons; Playoffs 2 games/started, 5 catches, 71 yards (14.2 y.p.c.), 0 TDs — Regular Season 16 games, 2 games started, 28 catches, 434 yards (15.5 y.p.c.), three touchdowns, one fumble (recovered); Career 1998-2010, 2012, 218 games, 982 catches, 15,292 yards, 70.1 yards per game, 156 touchdowns, 704 first downs, 13 fumbles, 25 rushes, 159 yards. Minnesota 1998-2004, 2010; Oakland 2005-06; New England 2007-2010; Tennessee 2010 and San Francisco 2012.
C.J. Spillman has went from being released by the Chargers to being a standout player for the 49ers, posting 10 tackles on special teams and being a game captain before the win over the Denver Broncos. (courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
C.J. Spillman (27) played at Marshall 2005-08, second team All-Conference USA 2007 & 2008, 2009 East-West Shrine game. 5 seasons at safety, Zero tackles vs. Atlanta Falcons; Playoffs 2 games, 1 tackle — Regular Season 16 games, 10 tackles (3 vs. St. Louis on Nov. 11); Career 53 games, 61 tackles, 54 solo, 7 assists (San Diego 2009-10 and San Francisco 2010-12).