After 12 years as the Baltimore Ravens head coach, John Harbaugh has led the Ravens through nine winning seasons. His net worth amounts to approximately $16 million in early 2020, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
That net worth will no doubt rise in the next few years, as Harbaugh signed a new contract in early 2019 to coach the Ravens, which will pay him $7 million annually through 2022.
That amounts to a solid pay day for Harbaugh, who has one Super Bowl ring with the franchise (in Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers, coached by his brother Jim Harbaugh.)
Yet his salary lags behind contemporaries like Bill Belichick, who earns $12.5 million annually coaching the New England Patriots, and Pete Carroll, who pulls in $11.5 annually coaching the Seattle Seahawks.
For now, Harbaugh will have to get by with the $7 million a year salary he earns from the Ravens. Unlike the professional athletes they coach, even elite level coaches like Harbaugh don’t typically land lucrative endorsement gigs, and subsist primarily on their income managing their teams on the field.
What professional coaches like John Harbaugh can expect is a cash cow in retirement in the form of endorsement deals and professional broadcasting gigs, much like John Madden did in retirement after coaching the Oakland Raiders or as Jimmy Johnson, ex-coach of the Dallas Cowboys, has done.
In that regard, expect John Harbaugh to keep cashing big paychecks for the Ravens at least through 2022, and then, if he wishes, dip his toes into the endorsement and broadcasting fields after his days roaming the sidelines at NFL games are behind him.
Harbaugh's Early Years
John Harbaugh was born on Sept. 23, 1962 in Toledo, Ohio. His parents, Jacqueline and Jack Avon Harbaugh also had another son, Jim, and a daughter, Joanie, with the family showing a solid football pedigree that would shape John’s life.
The Harbaugh family moved around as Jack Harbaugh pursued a career as a college football coach. John Sr. had already carved out a reputation as a hard-nosed gridiron standout at Bowling Green University and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and wound up suiting up for the New York Titans (soon to be the New York Jets) for one season.
Playing football was no longer an option for John Harbaugh’s father, but coaching certainly was.
Shortly after his playing days ended, Jack Harbaugh Sr. set the stage for his two sons’ career paths, as he worked his way up the ranks to become coach at Western Michigan from 1982 to 1986, and with Western Kentucky from 1989 to 2002.
John Harbaugh Jr. took full notice of his father’s flourishing collegiate coaching career and followed along on his own path to a life in football. He played high school football at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at a time when his father was coaching under NCAA football legend Bo Schembechler at the University of Michigan.
The younger Harbaugh took his own path, starring as a defensive back for the Miami University of Ohio RedHawks.
After graduation, Harbaugh began his own climb up the football coaching ladder. His first assistant coaching stop was at Western Michigan immediately after graduation. After three years with the Broncos, Harbaugh moved on to Pitt and then onto Cincinnati, where he spent seven years on the coaching staff.
On to the NFL
After a brief stay as a coach at Indiana in 1997, John Harbaugh broke through with an NFL job, hired by Philadelphia Eagles coach Ray Rhodes in 1998, where he began a nine-year tenure as the Eagles special teams coach, learning the NFL coaching craft not only from the capable Rhodes, but also under Eagles coach Andy Reid, who was widely respected as one of the great coaching minds in the NFL when he took the helm in south Philadelphia in 1999.
By 2007, Harbaugh had moved on to become the Eagle’s defensive backfield coach in 2007, a move triggered by Reid, who told Harbaugh the shift to the defensive side of the ball would make him more visible – and more attractive as a head coach – in NFL management circles.
That call proved prophetic, as Harbaugh was named head coach of the Baltimore Ravens in 2008, the third-ever head coach of the franchise. Given the future high-octane rivalry with the Patriots over the next decade, it was ironic that a recommendation by Bill Belichick helped seal the deal and was instrumental in Harbaugh getting the Ravens coaching job.
Harbaugh and his team roared out of the gate with an 11-5 record in his first year at the helm and Harbaugh’s reputation as an in-game taskmaster grew when the Ravens upset the vaunted Patriots in the 2009 AFC playoffs. Two years later, Harbaugh would best his brother Jim as the Ravens beat the 49ers by a score of 34-31 in the Super Bowl, with the game only decided on the last play (with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick playing a key role in the game in a losing cause.)
The Ravens haven’t returned to the NFL’s biggest stage in the past seven years, but with a loaded squad this year, led by quarterback sensation and like MVP Lamar Jackson, Harbaugh’s squad is a significant favorite to hoist the Lombard Trophy at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium Feb. 2, 2020 in Super Bowl LIV.
John Harbaugh is married to Ingrid (the long-time sweethearts married in 1991), and they have one daughter together.
The couple met in 1985, when Harbaugh was working as a coaches assistant at Western Michigan. Ingrid was also employed by the university as a student assistant in the school’s athletic office.
Harbaugh has a deep and spiritual affection for his family in particular, and family life in general.
At a commencement speech at Stevenson University, Harbaugh had this to say about life and family:
“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.”
Harbaugh appears to be prudent in his financial life, and prefers backing favored charitable causes to driving high-end sport cars or traipsing the globe in his off-season time.
One cause Harbaugh especially backs is the U.S. military, which he supports any chance he gets. In fact, in 2012, Harbaugh received the Department of the Army Civilian Awards, the Outstanding Civilian Service Award, for substantial contributions to the U.S. Army community. He also was awarded with the NFL’s 2013 “Salute to Service” award, given to individuals with deep charitable and supportive ties to U.S. military service members.
A lifelong Catholic, Harbaugh also spends a great deal of time participating in church-led causes. He reinstituted Catholic church services for the Ravens players and staff and is a regular attendant at Sunday prayer sessions at the Ravens Owen Mills, Md. Training facility – even on the day of games.
While John Harbaugh is quick to give credit to his staff and players, and rarely to himself, there’s no doubt he’s had a hugely positive impact on the Baltimore Ravens brand over the past 12 years. He’s won 114 games with the team during that time. The Ravens also have 10 playoff wins during that timeframe, which places the team second – behind the Patriots – for most playoff wins.
What does John Harbaugh says about his track record of sustained success? It’s not about him – it’s about the people around him.
“My coaching philosophy can be summed up easily,” Harbaugh said. “The three most important things are the team, the team and the team. Everything we do is to make the team better. Individuals can let their lights shine, and we encourage that. But, nothing should detract from making the team better.”