Husky legend Don James hospitalized

by: Casey McNerthney, KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

Don James in 1994. (Associated Press photo)

Husky football legend Don James is at Virginia Mason Medical Center, but University of Washington staff said Thursday afternoon he was resting comfortably.

James, who started coaching the Huskies in 1975 and led the undefeated national championship team to a 1991 Rose Bowl victory, underwent surgical treatment for gastrointestinal issues. He was admitted to the hospital Monday.

"Doctors have performed two surgical procedures on Coach James and believe that they were successful," read a UW statement sent from athletics spokesman Jeffrey Bechthold. "Coach James' family has asked for the UW to make this public to stem speculation and rumors. The family asks for the public to respect their privacy."

University staff also said they welcome prayers for a full and speedy recovery.

James, 81, began coaching in 1956 at the University of Kansas and came to the University of Washington after coaching stints at Southwest High, Florida State, the University of Michigan and Kent State, where he took the Golden Flashes to their first conference championship in 1972.

James became the Husky coach shortly before Christmas 1974, replacing Jim Owens after 18 years. Between 1975 and 1992, the Huskies went to 14 bowl games, including four winning Rose Bowl trips. They also won the 1984 Orange Bowl.

In January 2011, James accepted the Royal Brougham Legend Award at the 76th annual Sports Star of the Year banquet. Brougham, the legendary Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist and editor who is also the namesake of the street next to Safeco Field, started the banquet in 1935.

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