Jim Harbaugh was recently named head coach of the San Francisco 49ers after leading the Stanford Cardinal to a 12-1 record and a No. 4 national ranking in 2010. Harbaugh was given many offers to join the NFL and many other elite college programs, but elected to stay nearby and join San Francisco - following in the footsteps one on of his coaching heroes, Hall of Famer Bill Walsh.
Before arriving at Stanford, Harbaugh compiled a dominating 29-6 record, won two Division I-AA Mid Major National Championships and a pair of Pioneer Football League titles during three years of coaching the University of San Diego football program.
Still, Harbaugh is known best for his days as a Pro Bowl quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Harbaugh, who was originally drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft, was a superstar at the University of Michigan before he ever stepped foot in the NFL. In 15 seasons as a professional QB, Harbaugh earned a reputation as one of the toughest and most likeable players in the league while throwing for 26,000 yards and 129 TDs in his career.
It was during his four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts that Harbaugh developed a relationship with former Panther owner Gary Pedigo while doing commercials for Pedigo’s car dealership. The two shared a love for motorsports and the Indianapolis 500, which eventually led to Harbaugh’s involvement as a founding partner in Panther Racing. After retiring from the NFL in 2001, Harbaugh was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts’ “Ring of Honor” – making him only the third Colt player to be so honored.
Harbaugh remains active with Panther Racing while focusing on his newest duties as head coach of the 49ers. He was quoted recently as saying the Indy 500 was, “better than Christmas” and no matter how busy his football schedule may get, he never misses the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
He also remains committed to the Harbaugh Hill Foundation, which works with underprivileged children.