When playing careers are over, athletes are forced to find a second life. While many find new careers in new fields, some can’t scratch the sports itch and start again from the bottom as coaches. The path from player to coach is a long one, and a few, like Jim Harbaugh, have shown how rewarding that struggle can be. The best of these coaches go on to win championships, creating new legacies to leave behind. These are the greatest coaches who began their careers as players!
Jim Harbaugh Took The Long Road
Drafted in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, Jim Harbaugh had a fruitful playing career. After leaving the Bears, he spent time in Indianapolis, San Diego, and Baltimore before retiring.
As a head coach, he took his first gig with the University of San Diego before moving onto Stanford. After reviving the football program at the NCAA school, he was hired to right the ship of the San Francisco 49ers. He was an instant success, leading the team to the NFC Championship game in his first season, and the Super Bowl in his second. Today, he’s the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines.