23 Apr John Harbaugh given Ohio statue tribute
Like many other bronze statue makers, we here at Big Statues are happily besieged with requests to create statues commemorating famous folks who have long left us. It pretty much goes without saying that to have a statue made of yourself before you have passed on, you have to be pretty special.
Such a thing could certainly be said of Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh. The 2012 Super Bowl winner is just the latest of a long line of legendary coaches to be immortalized in bronze, his own sculpture being unveiled at Miami University of Ohio’s Cradle of Coaches, where there are already likenesses of eight other coaches.
Harbaugh’s success a few years ago led his alma mater to accelerate his induction, giving him a place alongside fellow sporting heroes Earl “Red” Blaik, Paul Brown, Carm Cozza, Weeb Ewbank, John Pont, Paul Dietzel, Ara Parseghian and Bo Schembechler.
As was the case with all previous statues on the Cradle of Coaches, Harbaugh’s likeness was created by Delaware-based sculptor Kristen Visbal, who when searching online for images of Harbaugh, kept coming across the same iconic pose of Harbaugh: wide-eyed, steel-jawed, stretching his arm out in the air.
As Vibal put it: “Every person has a pose that they assume on a regular basis. One of those for John was putting his fist in the air. It’s a nice, strong position.”
It’s fair to say that Harbaugh was wooed by the result, describing the Cradle as “the greatest honor in coaching, if you understand what it’s all about. It’s like Bubba Watson said last week [after winning his second Masters]. He was asked, ‘You ever dream of something like this?’ He said, ‘Naw, my dreams never got this far.’ That’s exactly how I feel.”
To say that it’s a big deal for Harbaugh to have won this honor would be a definite understatement – coaches aren’t given a place on the Cradle unless they are Miami graduates and go on to become national coaches of the year, receive induction into the college or professional football halls of fame or win collegiate or pro championships.
Of course, just as Harbaugh isn’t the first great coach to be immortalized by bronze statue makers, he certainly isn’t going to be the last. Right here at Big Statues, we’re experts at fabricating great statues of all manner of great figures, both within and outside the sporting world.