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Cradle of Coaches welcomes Harbaugh

<p>Miami will add another famous coach&#x27;s statue to the area behind Yager Stadium&#x27;s south end zone some time in the future</p>

Miami will add another famous coach's statue to the area behind Yager Stadium's south end zone some time in the future

Tom Downey, Sports Editor

Miami unveils the statue of John Harbaugh at the Cradle of Coaches Plaza at Yager Stadium Saturday. (Ben Taylor | The Miami Student)

The Cradle of Coaches has a new member. John Harbaugh, a former Miami football player and the Super Bowl-winning head coach of the Baltimore Ravens was inducted into the Cradle over the weekend.

As a defensive back, Harbaugh struggled to make the travel team during his time at Miami, but now has his own statue at the Cradle of Coaches Plaza outside Yager Stadium.

"There is nothing like Miami, there is nothing like the Cradle of Coaches," Harbaugh said. "I don't think there is a bigger honor in coaching. A lot may not understand that, but once you take a look, you under stand it. It means a lot."

Harbaugh joins legends Earl (Red) Blaik, Weeb Ewbank, Paul Brown, Paul Dietzel, Ara Parseghian, Carm Cozza, John Pont and Bo Schembechler as Cradle members. All members are Miami alumni who won either a national championship (or Super Bowl for NFL coaches) or national coach of the year award.

Athletic Director David Sayler was the driving force behind Harbaugh's induction. Sayler said Harbaugh is the link between the Miami greats of the past and the incoming and future recruits. However, Harbaugh originally turned down the statue offer from Sayler twice.

"John actually said no the first two times I asked him to do the statue," Sayler said. "That's the kind of man that he is. He just [said], 'Well, I don't know if I deserve it.' [I said], 'Of course you do, look at that ring on your finger.' To get him here and to have him do this for us and be honored this way, it's just awesome for me. It's beyond my wildest dreams as far as how the weekend has gone."

Jim Harbaugh, John's brother and current San Francisco 49ers head coach, was a surprise guest at Cradle of Coaches dinner Friday night. The younger Harbaugh said he was proud of his older brother.

"I prided myself for a very long time on being the tallest Harbaugh in the family of all the generations..." Jim Harbough said. "So, that all changed today when they unveiled the statue... I'm just so proud. There have been so many proud moments that John has brought to the Harbaugh family."

Jim Harbaugh wasn't the only notable guest present. John and Jim's father Jack, a legendary coach in his own right, was there. Ozzie Newsome, a Hall of Fame tight end and current Ravens general manager was present, along with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. A number of Harbaugh's former coaches and players were also present, much to John's delight.

"I feel overwhelmed and stunned a little bit that people would take the time to come on down," Harbaugh said. "That it would be something that they would want to be a part of. It means more to me than I could ever express."

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In addition to the revealing of the statue, Miami also broke ground on its new Indoor Sports Center. (LINK 1) Sayler said the facility is long overdue, with plans for the facility dating all the way back to 1998.

Miami is coming off its worst season in school history, but Sayler said the future, buoyed by the new facility, looks bright.

"The future is so bright," Sayler said. "I fully expect to be in MAC Championship game in three or four years if not sooner. That's what we're about and that's where we are focusing all our efforts."