"Big Jim" Reynolds

At The Bootleg, we occasionally like to remind folks of past contributors to the program who may be gone, but are not forgotten. "Big Jim" Reynolds was an ever present figure in and around the Stanford Athletics community for half a century. We would be interested to here if any of our more seasoned posters remember Mr. Reynolds and have stories to share.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, November 23, the 66th Big Game of 1963 was postponed for a week due to the tragic assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy the day before the game. It was postponed for a week and 82,000 were still in a state of mourning, along with the rest of the country, when the game was played on November 30th. Each of the school's bands would pay tribute to the fallen President and the Arthur P. Barnes rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner", with a lone horn player opening and the rest of the LSJUMB joining in, would become a moving tradition for decades to come.

Thanks to the running of converted QB Steve Thurlow (21 rushes for 126 yards) and three long field goals from Braden Beck, two-point favorite Stanford eventually would win the 1963 Big Game by the score of 28-17, giving first-year Stanford head coach and former Cal linebacker John Ralston a big "W" in his first clash with his own alma mater. After 66 games, the series was tied 28-28-10!


Honored in a pregame ceremony before the ‘63 Big Game was a gentleman by the name of "Big Jim". He was born "Ralph" but most Stanford people know him only as "Big Jim" Reynolds.

Reynolds was undoubtedly one of Stanford's most enthusiastic and active alumni for more than fifty years. During that half century, he helped hundreds of students, men and women, athletes and non-athletes.


Particularly during the 30s, 40s, and 50s, many of the Indians' outstanding athletes in all sports first became interested in the Farm through "Big Jim." Eternal gratitude was bestowed up Reynolds by the Stanford Alumni Association, Stanford Buck Club, Stanford Block "S" Society, and the Stanford Athletic Board is expressed in the special presentation to "Big Jim" Reynolds.


Presenting the award that day was a Stanford luminary in his own right, Mr. Joseph J. Burris, who had been President of the Stanford Club of Los Angeles, the Law Society of Southern California, and the Stanford Alumni Association; Chairman of the Stanford Buck Club and the Stanford Athletic Board.


By all accounts, "Big Jim" Reynolds was a "larger-than-life" personality, who operated in a decidedly different era in which NCAA compliance was less of a concern because the rules with regard to alumni contact were much less defined.


Winners of the "Jim Reynolds Award", still given annually to Stanford Football's "Most Inspirational Senior Football Player" include programs greats like Gary Kerkorian, Bobby Garrett, Ed Cummings, Steve Thurlow, Ray Handley, and Marty Brill. The most recent "Jim Reynolds Award" winner was oft-injured, yet ever-courageous wide receiver and kick returner Chris Owusu in 2011.

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