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[Originally posted Jan. 20, 2008]

I thought I would provide a quick link to one interesting background story I found on our new Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. Ravens fans should be delighted to get an emerging leadership talent who comes from an experienced football family and has proven his mettle in the coaching trenches for a long time of seasoning. I don’t know much about him yet but am pleased with what I read from other players, etc.

The Florida Baptist Witness back in 2005 had a number of quotes from long-time Eagles chaplain Pastor David Hoke who was discussing the Christian commitment of coach Ted Williams and commented in turn about Harbaugh as well:

Among the other believers on the Eagles coaching staff are defensive quality control coach Mike Reed, linebackers coach Steve Spagnuolo, secondary coaches Trent Walters and Sean McDermott plus special teams’ leader John Harbaugh, the brother of NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh.

Eagles team chaplain David Hoke spent time Feb. 2 fellowshipping and watching some game film with Harbaugh when he arrived at the Eagles team hotel, renewing the friendship built over many weeks this year.

“John is really a solid coach and solid believer like a lot of good coaches on the Eagles staff now,” the New Jersey Southern Baptist pastor said. “They put in a lot of hours of work and are very committed to their job.”

I am not trying to make the connection that a Christian would necessarily be a better football coach. But I do believe that personal values and integrity are important. One of Billick’s fatal flaws was his arrogance. (Although I am not an advocate of dumping on Billick; he gave 100%, accomplished a lot for this community and does not deserve being slammed by the fans at this point.) You need a high level of confidence to function in this sport. But I prefer the humble, dependent-on-the-Lord confidence of a Tony Dungy. Initial reports indicate that Coach Harbaugh is a very aggressive (even loud in his approach to practice and correcting the players) and extremely self-confident. What lies behind that confidence we will have to wait and see.

I just want to go on record to say that I was impressed with the resolve of the Ravens to go after young, emerging talent rather than recycling older coaches who would not identify as well with the younger generation players. I think this is a good hire and a positive step forward for the Ravens organization. I look forward to seeing what type of staff Coach Harbaugh assembles.