SEATTLE, Wash. (CBS Seattle) – Long time University of Washington football coach Don James passed away earlier today at his home surrounded by loved ones from the effects of pancreatic cancer, the school announced. He was 80-years-old.
James was the head coach of the football team from 1975 through 1992. He was named the AFCA National Coach of the Year in 1977. That same year, he led the Huskies to the Rose Bowl for the first time.
During his 18 year tenure, he led Washington to six conference titles. In 1991 the team won the national championship and he was honored with four different national coach of the year awards.
As a player at the University of Miami he set numerous school records. He went on to continue his education at the University of Kansas where he became a graduate assistant coach.
“My family and I are extremely saddened to hear of Coach James’ passing,” current UW coach Steve Sarkisian said in a press release. “His accomplishments as a football coach stand alone, but what made him truly special is the quality of man he was away from the game. The guidance and leadership he in stilled into this program and community are still felt today, and will continue to be felt here for a long, long time.”
Over 100 players who played under James at UW were selected in the NFL Draft, including 10 who were selected in the first round.
James has been inducted into the University of Miami Athletic Hall of Fame, the Husky Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. His career coaching record was 176-78-3, including a record of 153-58-2 at Washington.
He had many other accomplishments in his life. He shot a hole in one in golf, ran a marathon, and climbed to the top of Mount Rainier.
Information about a public memorial service will be announced by the school later.
James is survived by his wife, Carol, his three children, and 10 grandchildren.
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