Harbaughs Not Only Coaching Brother Duo With Area Ties

Posted on August 05, 2014 by Joe Platania

OWINGS MILLS -- Even though it's only preseason, the inevitable spate of Harbaugh brother stories are on their way.

The ultra-competitive siblings will send their teams against each other during the preseason opener (Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m.; WBAL-TV; WIYY-FM), as well as in a stretch of three days of joint practices at the Ravens' Under Armour Performance Center.

But while the Ravens' John Harbaugh and younger brother and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh are the first NFL coaches to go against each other -- both in regular and postseason play -- the dueling-brother phenomenon is not limited to the gridiron.

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox

In fact, it's not the only time coaches with area connections have taken part in such a rivalry.

In 1999, the International Basketball League placed a franchise in Baltimore and named it the BayRunners. The team's head coach was Herb Brown, brother of Hall of Famer and longtime pro and college basketball coach Larry Brown.

Brown's Charm City tenure was less than successful, losing 20 of 30 games and getting fired with less than half the season having elapsed. 

Previously, Herb had coached the Detroit Pistons (1975-77), which meant he had to face Larry on six occasions. Predictably, Larry -- who was coaching the Denver Nuggets at the time, one of his nine NBA stops -- won four of six meetings against Herb. 

But the pair would work together on the same staff in Philadelphia in 2001 when that team made the NBA Finals, and the tandem brought a championship back to Detroit three years later.

The situation was markedly different when it came to hockey coaches Bryan and Terry Murray.

Bryan was the first coach to put the Washington Capitals into the National Hockey League playoffs, doing so for seven straight years (1983-89). 

But not only did the team never advance past the second round in any of those years -- despite Bryan winning the league's Coach of the Year award in 1984 – the team fired Bryan and replaced him with Terry, who had been working under him as an assistant.

In the Harbaugh battles, the older brother has won both so far. But, as with the Brown brothers, the younger Murray got the upper hand.

Terry Murray, the former Baltimore Skipjacks (AHL) coach who is eight years younger than Bryan, ended up winning five of nine head-to-head matchups while coaching the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers and Los Angeles Kings.

Adding insult to injury, Terry would succeed his brother a second time, taking over the Panthers when Bryan was fired in 1998.

Joe Platania is in his 21st season covering professional football.

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