By DANIEL NOVINSON
Often forgotten amid the passion of the players and fans eagerly awaiting this year’s Big Game is the tale of Stanford head coach Walt Harris. For the rookie Cardinal leader, the outcome of tomorrow’s tilt will add an important chapter to his reputation and richness to his personal tale. Not only do performances in rivalry games shape and define players and seasons, but coaches across the nation put their legacies on the line come the third week of November. One needs to look no further than the California/Stanford rivalry of the last three years for two poignant examples.
“This is such a big game from a coaching perspective that I wish we didn’t have to participate in all [these media appearances],” Harris said. “I know I was at an Ohio State/Michigan game and I don’t remember coach Cooper talking much about having to do a lot of these things. I’d rather focus on getting our team ready.” Indeed, Harris enters this year’s Big Game with familiarity. He was born and raised in the Bay Area, so his words on junior quarterback Trent Edwards’ desire to play in Saturday’s game can also be read as his own desire to coach in it. “I’m sure that being a Bay Area boy has something to do with adrenaline and wanting to play in this game,” Harris said. “Like a lot of coaches, I believe the mind is everything.” Many Cardinal fans would also be surprised to learn that one of Harris’ first coaching jobs came at
As Harris points out, this season’s contest brings added drama, as it is the last Big Game in the soon-to-be-remodeled stadium and a Cardinal bowl bid hangs in the balance. Stanford fans can only hope Harris and his team tune out the distractions by kickoff. The team’s work starts tomorrow if it wishes to restore the Big Game to its historically lofty perch. “What you [need] to have a rivalry is good football teams, and lately