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Harbaugh Named NFL Coach of the Year

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh - a graduate of Palo Alto High and former coach of the Stanford football team - was named the AP's NFL Coach of the Year for 2011 on Saturday.

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was named the Associated Press' NFL Coach of the Year on Saturday.

Harbaugh, a Paly grad and the former coach of the Stanford football team, just wrapped his first season as the 49ers' coach, during which he virtually doubled the team's wins and brought them all the way to the Superbowl's doorsteps.

"For a rookie coach to come in and take his team to a 13-3 season when they were 6-10 the year before is incredible," Yahoo! Sports contributing writer David Mehrwein wrote Monday. "Coach Harbaugh did it without any big name free agents or any huge upgrades from the previous year - except a couple new players in the secondary. He did it with a core group of players who were very talented individually and turned them into a football team."

"There were many games where he out-coached the competition, and he changed a losing culture in San Francisco quickly," said NBC Sports' Gregg Rosenthal.

For the award, out of nearly 50 Associated Press voters, Harbaugh received a whopping 45 votes, compared to Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who got three, and Denver Broncos' John Fox, who got two.

Forty-niners quarterback Alex Smith accepted the award on Harbaugh's behalf in a ceremony following Sunday night's Super Bowl.

"I think it was an amazing season," Harbaugh said. "In a lot of ways, beyond description. Incredible."

Harbaugh is the first 49ers coach to win the award since Bill Walsh in 1981.

randy albin February 07, 2012 at 10:20 PM
does this man compare to bill walsh or vince lombardi? just automatically place him in the hall of fame
Mark Weiss February 09, 2012 at 07:23 AM
I still say Stanford was right in bypassing Harbaugh in 1982 in favor of John Paye and that if Stanford had called Paye three years ago and asked him to coach football -- instead of high school girls hoops -- Paye would have given it the old college try.

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