From Harker athlete to football head coach: A decade later, alumnus returns to lead from the sidelines

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Alysa Suleiman

Quarterback Rohan Gorti (11) speaks with Coach Sidhart Krishnamurthi on the sideline during the varsity football team’s match against Crystal Springs last year. “Sid brings passion, organization, and energy to the program,” upper school athletics director Dan Molin said. “The students are picking up their respect for his passion and the seriousness of the sport, and he’s bringing good positive energy.”

by Emily Tan and Medha Yarlagadda

Rhythmic thuds of varsity football players’ steps fill the air as the students perform ladder agility drills on Davis Field during lunch on Jan. 31 before tossing a football to head coach Siddarth “Sid” Krishnamurthi (‘15), who gives words of feedback and encouragement to each player. 

Krishnamurthi, who played football throughout middle school and during his time at the Harker upper school, went on to study economics and play football as a wide receiver at Stanford, graduating in 2019. In May 2021, wanting to reconnect with the sport once more, Sid reached out to former Harker football head coach Loren Powers on LinkedIn, who offered him a spot on the coaching staff as an offensive coordinator, a position Krishnamurthi took on in June 2021. 

“More than anything, I’m here for the players, the student-athletes at Harker,” Krishnamurthi said. “I realize how special they are, and my goal even before I became head coach was to leverage that innate driving competitiveness that Harker students have and see that translate on the football field.”

His experience as offensive coordinator at Harker, in which he worked closely with the team to call offensive plays, solidified his drive to continue working with the players.

“I was very impressed with how much he’s matured and how much he’s grown into the young adult he’s become,” upper school athletics director Dan Molin said. “He’s really taking this seriously, is very on top of things and organized. As an alumni, he knows the community well, and it’s a good fit.” 

I understand these kids; I come from the same background as them. Working with like-minded people and learning how to motivate and lead them are things that I could use in my everyday life, whether that’s in work or relationships.”

— Siddarth “Sid” Krishnamurthi

Zeke Weng (11), a wide receiver on the varsity football team, elaborates on Coach Sid’s qualities as a coach. He mentions how Coach Sid has worked to improve their off-season workouts, coming in as early as 6:00 am to help the team, while also bringing focus to their mental health and diet. 

“During the season, as our offensive coordinator, Coach Sid called the plays, and worked very hard to come up with new plays and try to specialize it for each player,” Zeke said.“He’s very committed, and he has started a lot of initiatives to try to improve our football culture and paint a new image for the football team.”

In addition to the amount of effort he puts into coaching the players, Krishnamurthi also reflects on the lessons he has taken away from his time with the team.  

“I teach these kids a lot, but they teach me a lot too,” Krishnamurthi said. “I understand these kids; I come from the same background as them. Working with like-minded people and learning how to motivate and lead them are things that I could use in my everyday life, whether that’s in work or relationships.”

Zeke discusses how Coach Sid helped him grow as a player. Krishnamurthi also played wide receiver, which provided a more direct connection for Zeke. In the upcoming football season, Zeke has many aspirations on how he would like to improve as a football player and teammate, and Coach Sid has helped encourage and support these goals.  

He’s been an inspiration for everybody on our team, he is very active, and I can genuinely see that he loves the sport, and really cares about this place.”

— Zeke Weng (11), football team member

“He’s been an inspiration for everybody on our team, he is very active, and I can genuinely see that he loves the sport, and really cares about this place,” Zeke said.

Similarly, Molin mentions how he has seen Krishnamurthi’s growth and how he is a strong asset to the Harker football program. The football team needs a strong leader to guide them, and Krishnamurthi fills that role.

“Sid brings passion, organization, and energy to the program,” Molin said. “The students are picking up their respect for his passion and the seriousness of the sport, and he’s bringing good positive energy.”

As someone who has worked a corporate job for the past two years, Krishnamurthi enjoys using football as a means of teaching life lessons, such as the value of strong communication, to his players. 

“A lot of these kids are going to go work in a company, and I’m starting to realize what these companies are looking for,” Krishnamurthi said. “I want to prepare these young men to become adults.”

After graduating from Stanford in 2019, Krishnamurthi joined the product team at Recogni, a startup that created a platform for real-time object recognition and perception for autonomous driving. 

Between balancing an office job and responsibilities as head coach, Krishnamurthi emphasizes the importance of focusing on the task at hand and also appreciates the way both sides of his life complement each other. 

Coach Sid catches a pass during the football team’s lunchtime practice on Davis Field on Jan. 31. “More than anything, I’m here for the players, the student-athletes at Harker,” Krishnamurthi said. “I realize how special they are, and my goal even before I became head coach was to leverage that innate driving competitiveness that Harker students have and see that translate on the football field.” (Emily Tan)

“With work, I learned a lot of organizational skills,” Krishnamurthi said. “Work has taught me how to [use] Microsoft Office and Excel, and it makes me able to communicate with these kids and present things to these kids much easier.”

Looking into the future, Krishnamurthi sets his sights on two main goals: educating the community about football and encouraging participation, and reducing avoidable injuries. While he acknowledges that not everyone will love the sport, he does highly encourage those who are interested to attempt the sport so that they can experience not only the physical side, but also the mental and character-building side of the game. 

To achieve his second goal, reducing avoidable injury, Krishnamurthi and the rest of the coaching team have emphasized conditioning and mobility, as well as education on proper tackling technique. Krishnamurthi has been hosting morning practices from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. at the Harker School as well as practices during long lunches from 12:45 to 1:25 p.m. to condition his players and run through tackling motions step by step to prevent injury in games.

“I want them to learn to win [and] lose with humility, be intense snap to whistle, but show respect, and it will translate to the rest of their lives,” Krishnamurthi said. “Educating the community, health and safety of the kids and teaching them about character, winning takes care of itself if you do those three things.”