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Stadium renamed, honors Earl Hansen

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Audience praise Earl Hansen during ceremony. “Coach Hansen has not only been a great coach but a pillar of the community,” former player of Hansen’s Jim Harbaugh said.

Retired athletic director and football coach Earl Hansen, a mentor to numerous college and NFL players, is the new namesake for Viking Stadium. 

The stadium was officially renamed the Earl Hansen Viking Stadium during halftime of the Viking’s Sept. 9 home game against Sacred Heart Prep. Included in the renaming is funding for a new sound system and a repainted scoreboard. 

The halftime ceremony also celebrated Palo Alto’s first state football championship in 2010, which earned Hansen ESPN RISE’s Cal-Hi Sports State Football Coach of the Year, the first time a Paly coach won the award.

University of Michigan football head coach and Paly alumni Jim Harbaugh, who played football under Hansen, said he was excited his former coach was being honored.

“Coach Hansen has been not only a great coach but a pillar of the community,” Harbaugh told The Campanile. “I always felt welcome. He was always happy to see me. He always let you do you, but he was there to help, give advice.” 

Tina Bono lead the renaming committee and said the idea was a long time coming and finally gained support and sufficient funding last year. 

“We would also like to do a scholarship fund in Earl’s name, so any extra funds will go to that,” Bono said. 

Hansen said he was honored by the night and is proudest when he sees his athletes succeed. 

He said, “It’s a great honor to have my name where I’ve dedicated 26 years of my life.” 

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