Super Bowl coach immortalized by local sculptor
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh set his name in stone when his team won Super Bowl XLVII, and, now, local sculptor Kristen Visbal will immortalize his image in bronze.
Following his Super Bowl victory, Miami University (Ohio) announced that Harbaugh would be inducted into its “Cradle of Coaches,” which will include a bronze life-size statue that will be displayed at his alma mater.
Visbal has been the sculptor for the entire “Cradle of Coaches” project and has already sculpted statues in the likeness of legendary coaches Paul Brown, Bo Schembechler, Weeb Ewbank, Ara Parseghian, Earl Blaik, Carm Cozza, Paul Dietzel and John Pont.
The purpose of the display is to honor Miami graduates that have been named coach of the year, won a title or have been inducted into the Hall of Fame at either the collegiate or the NFL level. Harbaugh’s will be the 10th statue unveiled on campus, but Visbal said this one is different.
“John [Harbaugh] is the most exciting for me, because I’m sculpting him the way he is now,” she said, comparing her current project to trying to recreate one of the coaching legends in their prime.
Visbal went on to explain that Harbaugh is even able to approve the final product, and that being able to physically measure him is helpful in the accuracy of the project, rather than trying to work off of old photographs.
At this point, Visbal has already sculpted the miniature version of the statue, or maquette, which will eventually be enlarged to the life-size rendition to be displayed on campus. The final product will be unveiled privately on April 17 and publically on April 18.
Originally commissioned for the project by the university, Visbal said she actually almost missed the opportunity.
“I was really lucky that I even got the submission in there,” she recalled. “They Federal Expressed that packet to me, and it arrived the day after I left for Costa Rica. I got back and had a week to submit.”
A world traveler, after the project’s completion, Visbal plans to venture from her scenic studio in Lewes to pursue her true passion of abstract sculpture.
“The coaches are a beautiful crowning touch for the realism segment of my life,” she said, describing the transition. “On these new pieces, I don’t plan on having any customer or making anybody happy, I’m going to make myself happy.”