SEATTLE -- Will Harris has been on the UW campus for less than ten months, but he’s very familiar with what goes down on Montlake come game day.
“This place is special," Huskies assistant defensive backs coach Will Harris said. "I say that every single time and just to be apart of it is a blessing.”
The Washington assistant defensive backs coach, played on this same field three times over the course of his college career with Pete Carroll's Trojans from 2005 to 2009.
“Will is a great spirit," former USC and current Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. "He was very tough, physical player but more than anything he just had a great light about him. He was always upbeat, always energetic. He was banged up some when he was with us but I loved having him on our team and I had no question that he would be an effective coach.”
But for Harris, he hadn’t considered coaching until he personally felt the impact of the then linebackers coach, Ken Norton jr.
“I got hurt in college and it was just one of those things," Harris said. "I was in the training room and coach Norton used to come in there everyday and say ‘Hey will how you doing man.' I used to tell him everything was okay, but it wasn’t. And then one day we went out to dinner and kind just broke down and he was kind of just a mentor for me then out and then once i got my next opportunity to start. It was just awesome kind of like we had one of those special moments where we gave each other a hug and we were like okay here it is we finally got out of that little slump so it was special.”
That interaction left a lasting impression on Harris. So when his own professional playing career ended and an opportunity for training kids came up, he took it.
“Snoop Dogg gave me a call and I started training his son," Harris said. "Then next thing you know I walked into this coaching deal and I love it. Not do I love it cause obviously game day and things like that, which is awesome, but just seeing young men develop and I kind of think the special part about it is just seeing the young men develop.”
It’s the same philosophy Harris felt nearly a decade ago at USC.
“There were so many different things that a coach can be to a player that I felt like I was able to get as a player of course so I wanted to extend that to the players that I coached," former USC linebackers coach and current Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. "There was so much ball and so much life, so much success and failures I learned as a player and I felt like coaching would be a way for me to give back to the players and let them know you know exactly what to look for, to understand all the knowledge I’ve been able to gather and to give back to them.”
That passed down, shared belief is what brought Harris to Chris Petersen and Montlake.
“They are players coaches and I think they both do a really good job," Harris said. "As far as coach Pete is a competitive dude and I think coach Petersen is as well. Kinda similar so for me to play for him and work for coach Petersen is awesome. It’s actually a blessing like I thank god everyday cause I’m like man I’m in a great spot.”