Ex-NFL QB named head coach at San Diego

Updated: December 19, 2003, 8:26 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh was hired Friday as football coach at Division I-AA San Diego.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity and what the school stands for," Harbaugh told The Associated Press by phone from Oakland, where he's finishing his second season as the Raiders' quarterbacks coach. "I'm just thrilled."

Harbaugh said school officials asked him not to say anything else until he's introduced at a campus news conference on Saturday morning. School spokesman Ted Gosen confirmed the hiring but said no one in the athletic department would have further comment until Saturday.

Harbaugh played for the San Diego Chargers in 1999 and 2000, and still owns a house in Coronado, across San Diego Bay from downtown.

He interviewed Monday at USD, a small Catholic school on a hilltop overlooking Mission Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

The Toreros -- Spanish for "bullfighters" -- play in the non-scholarship Pioneer League. They were 8-2 last season and tied for the Pioneer League North Division title. Coach Kevin McGarry was fired in October for reasons the school never explained.

Harbaugh's father, Jack, was head coach at Western Kentucky for 14 seasons. He resigned in late February, just two months after leading the Hilltoppers to the Division I-AA championship. Jim Harbaugh was on his father's staff for several seasons even though he was playing in the NFL. He helped with recruiting and spring ball.

Harbaugh played 15 NFL seasons for Chicago, Indianapolis, Baltimore, the Chargers and Carolina. He was with Detroit in training camp in 2001 but was cut before the season started.

In 1995, he led the Colts on a playoff run that fell an incomplete pass short of reaching the Super Bowl. The Colts won a wild-card game in San Diego to start that run, and the Chargers haven't been back to the playoffs since.

Harbaugh will remain with the Raiders through the season's final game, which will be a week from Sunday at San Diego. The Raiders host Green Bay on Monday night.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press