I enjoyed this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer on the impact the late Jim Johnson had on the current Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. The impact an older coach can have a younger coach’s career by taking him under his wing is so powerful. I am blessed as a young coach to have already encountered so many mentors in my career (Jared Grasso, Tim Cluess, Rob Kennedy, Chris Caputo, Fran Fraschilla, Mike Martin, Joe Lombardi, Dave Pauley, Dan Leibovitz, Adam Finkelstein, Mike MacDonald and Bob Walsh just to name a few) and their impact has been immeasurable.
Johnson, who died from cancer in late July 2009, proved to be the greatest influence on Harbaugh’s career path to becoming an NFL head coach. When Harbaugh was pigeonholed as a special-teams guy, it was Johnson who invited him into the Eagles’ defensive meeting rooms.
“He grabbed me and pulled me in there and he would give me little duties and let me learn,”