Legendary UW football coach Don James dies


SEATTLE - The University of Washington announced Sunday that former legendary football coach Don James died from the effects of pancreatic cancer.

James passed away Sunday morning at his home with his family by his side.

In September, James started chemotherapy for a malignant tumor on his pancreas.

“The James family would like to thank the thousands of friends, former players, fellow coaches and fans who prayed and expressed their love and support for Don these past few weeks,” said university officials.

Leave a memory of Coach James 

"My family and I are extremely saddened to hear of Coach James' passing," current UW coach Steve Sarkisian said. "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 instilled into this program and community are still felt today, and will continue to be felt here for a long, long time."

The 80-year-old James, known as the "Dawgfather," coached at Washington from 1975-1992 and led the Huskies to a share of the 1991 national championship. James went 153-57-2 with the Huskies and led the school to six Rose Bowl appearances.

PHOTOS: Legendary UW coach 'Dawgfather' Don James dies

Born on Dec. 31, 1932, James was hired at Washington eight days before his birthday in 1974. He grew up in Massillon, Ohio, where he played quarterback and defensive back for two state championship teams at Washington High School. He accepted a scholarship to Miami of Florida where he set five school passing records. When James graduated in 1954 he had several academic and military honors, and earned the Optner Trophy honoring Miami’s top scholar-athlete.

Before becoming freshman football coach at the University of Kansas, where he also studied, James was a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, serving two years.

Outside of football, James was an accomplished golfer, recording his third hole-in-one in June 1985. He also completed his first marathon in Seattle at age 54.