Don James (American football)
James in 2013
December 31, 1932|
|Died||October 20, 2013
|Position(s)||Quarterback, defensive back|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1958||Southwest Miami HS (FL)|
|1959–1961||Florida State (DB)|
|1962–1965||Florida State (DC)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|1 National (1991)
1 MAC (1972)
6 Pac-8/Pac-10 (1977, 1980–1981, 1990–1992)
|AFCA Coach of the Year (1977)
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (1991)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1991)
George Munger Award (1991)
Sporting News College Football COY (1991)
MAC Coach of the Year (1972)
3x Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1980, 1990–1991)
|College Football Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1997 (profile)
Donald Earl "Don" James (December 31, 1932 – October 20, 2013) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Kent State University from 1971 to 1974 and at the University of Washington from 1975 to 1992, compiling a career college football record of 178–76–3. His 1991 Washington team won a share of the national championship after completing a 12–0 season with a win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl. James was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1997.
Playing and early coaching career
Born and raised in Massillon, Ohio, James graduated from Massillon High School in 1950. The 2nd youngest of five boys, his oldest brother was Tommy James, a star player on Ohio State's first national championship team in 1942 and a Pro Bowl player in his 10-year NFL career. As a quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes, James set five school passing records. He earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1954 and then was commissioned a lieutenant in the United States Army. James then was graduate assistant for the Jayhawks at the University of Kansas under his former high school coach, Chuck Mather, and received a master's degree in education. He coached high school football in Florida at Southwest Miami High School in 1959, then was a college assistant coach for 12 seasons at Florida State, Michigan, and Colorado.
James was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
Head coaching career
In 1971, James became the head coach at Kent State in Ohio, where he compiled a 25–19–1 record (.556) in four years. There he coached future NFL great Jack Lambert, current college head coach Nick Saban of Alabama, and former head coach Gary Pinkel of Missouri. During his tenure at Kent, the Golden Flashes won their only Mid-American Conference title, in 1972, and played in their first bowl game, the 1972 Tangerine Bowl.
In December 1974, Don James was hired by University of Washington athletic director Joseph Kearney to succeed Jim Owens as head coach. James served in this capacity for 18 seasons, from 1975 to 1992. He led the Huskies to a national championship in 1991, shared with Miami. James' teams won four Rose Bowls, the Orange Bowl in January 1985, and compiled a record of 10–5 in all bowl games. Overall, James tallied a 153–57–2 mark for a winning percentage of .722 at Washington, including a then-record 98 wins in Pacific-10 Conference play. Washington won 22 consecutive games from 1990 to 1992.
During the 1992 season, it was revealed that several Huskies players had received improper benefits. Among them, starting quarterback Billy Joe Hobert had received a series of loans totaling $50,000 made by a friend's father-in-law. While this was not an institutional violation (Hobert was deemed ineligible as a result, but the program was not punished), this was the first of a series of investigative reports by the Seattle Times and Los Angeles Times that eventually led to the Pacific-10 Conference and NCAA investigations. These led to charges that Washington exhibited "lack of institutional control" over its handling of recruiting funds for on-campus visits, in which player hosts allegedly kept money or gave it to recruits, and turned in false expense forms (amounts cited in the report were $80). It was also charged that a booster ran a summer jobs program that employed more than 50 Husky athletes since the 1970s that either paid for work that was not performed or were not given enough work to merit their salaries. The Huskies received sanctions from both the NCAA and Pacific-10 Conference, though notably James and the coaching staff were not specifically cited as having broken any rules. James resigned from his head coaching position on August 22, 1993, in protest of what he considered unfair sanctions against his team. James later clarified that he was protesting what he felt was a betrayal by then University President William Gerberding, who, against James' wishes, argued in favor of altering the penalties against the program from a two-year TV revenue ban and one-year bowl ban, to a one-year TV revenue ban and two-year bowl ban.
James won national college coach of the year honors in 1977, 1984, and 1991. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
Head coaching record
|Kent State Golden Flashes (Mid-American Conference) (1971–1974)|
|1972||Kent State||6–5–1||4–1||1st||L Tangerine|
|Washington Huskies (Pacific-8/Pacific-10 Conference) (1975–1992)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
Assistant coaches under Don James who became NCAA or NFL head coaches:
- Keith Gilbertson: Idaho (1986–1988), California (1992–1995), Washington (2003–2004)
- Jim Heacock: Illinois State (1988–1995)
- Jim Lambright: Washington (1993–1998)
- Jim L. Mora: Atlanta Falcons (2004–2006), Seattle Seahawks (2009), UCLA (2012–present)
- Gary Pinkel: Toledo (1991–2000), Missouri (2001–2015)
- Nick Saban: Toledo (1990), Michigan State (1995-1999), LSU (2000-2004), Miami Dolphins (2005-2006), Alabama (2007-present)
- Matt Simon: North Texas (1994–1997)
- Chris Tormey: Idaho (1995–1999), Nevada (2000–2004)
- Jeff Woodruff: Eastern Michigan (2000–2003)
- Kent State Game by Game Results Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Washington Coaching Records Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Washington Game by Game Results Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Les Carpenter, Billy Joe Hobert: Villain, hero? Debate rages, Seattle Times, June 20, 2002, accessed January 2, 2012.
- Tom Farrey, No Bowl Play For Huskies, Pac-10 Decides -- Penalties Beyond 1- Year Ban Possible; Ratification Vote Today, Seattle Times, August 22, 1993, accessed January 2, 2012.
- Scout.com: Print This Story
- "Former Washington coach Don James dies". USA Today. October 20, 2013.
- Jude, Adam (October 20, 2013). "Legendary Washington football coach Don James dies at age 80". Seattle Times.
- Yardley, William (October 22, 2013). "Don James, Longtime Washington Huskies Football Coach, Dies at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2016.