John Yarno

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
John Yarno
No. 51
Position: Center
Personal information
Date of birth: (1954-12-17) December 17, 1954 (age 62)
Place of birth: Spokane, Washington
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 251 lb (114 kg)
Career information
High school: Joel E. Ferris High School
(& Gonzaga Prep)
College: Idaho
NFL Draft: 1977 / Round: 4 / Pick: 87
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

John Richard Yarno, Jr. (born December 17, 1954) is a former professional football player, an offensive lineman with the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the Seahawks, the 87th overall pick,[1] and played for six seasons, from 1977 through 1982.

High school[edit]

Born and raised in Spokane, Washington, Yarno was one of six children[2][3] and attended Gonzaga Prep through his junior year. He transferred to Ferris High School for his senior year and graduated in 1973. He was a second team ("honorable mention") all-city selection at center in the fall of 1972,[4][5] when the Saxons won their third consecutive city league championship.[6] As a senior, Yarno was 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) but under 200 lb (91 kg).[7][8]

College football[edit]

Left-handed and underweight for a center, Yarno was not highly recruited out of high school. He did not receive any offers from Pac-8 schools, only from Idaho and Boise State of the Big Sky conference. Idaho was a better fit for Yarno as it was closer to Spokane, a Division I program, and its offensive coordinator and line coach (Don Matthews) was a former head coach at Ferris and a UI alumnus. He also had familiarity with the college town of Moscow, the longtime residence of his maternal grandfather Lee Gregory (Yarno's mother, Wanda (1925–62), died when he was not yet eight),[9] also a UI alum.[7][10] Yarno selected Idaho, then under fourth-year head coach Don Robbins, who had led Idaho to its then-best record of 8-3 in 1971.

In his freshman season of 1973, the Vandals went 4–7 for the second consecutive year and the coaching staff was dismissed, except for Ed Troxel, who was promoted to head coach. Yarno saw action in every game as a freshman,[5] then became a three-year starter in his sophomore season of 1974 under Troxel and offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson. In his senior season of 1976, Idaho was 7–4 for their first winning season in five years.[5] He was a unanimous selection as the conference player of the year on offense, the first for an interior lineman. Yarno was the first Vandal to be named to the Division I first-team All-American (AP),[11] which included a prime-time television appearance on the Bob Hope Christmas Special on NBC on Monday, December 13.[12][13][14] The All-America team was headlined by Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett of Pittsburgh.[15] Yarno was also selected to play in the East–West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl.[16] The University of Idaho retired his number 56 the following year.[17][18]

During his senior season at Idaho, Yarno was listed at 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) and 246 lb (112 kg). His younger brother George (1957–2016) was the nose tackle with neighboring Washington State, and the two matched up often in the Battle of the Palouse in 1975 and 1976, both handily won by WSU.[19]

Pro football[edit]

Selected in the fourth round (87th overall) of the 1977 NFL Draft,[20][21][22] Yarno made the team as a rookie, but saw little action.[23] He played six seasons with the Seahawks, the last five as the starting center, and endured three knee surgeries while a pro. Yarno became the starter in training camp in 1978, but suffered ligament damage in the 13th game of the regular season.[24] He regained his starting position for the 1979 season and played every offensive down.[25] Yarno signed a three-year contract in April 1983, but was waived by new head coach Chuck Knox in late August after the acquisition of Blair Bush from Cincinnati.[26]

Not picked up by another NFL team in 1983, Yarno and his brother George signed three-year contracts with the Denver Gold of the USFL for the 1984 spring season. After limited playing time at center and tight end in the USFL and no interest from NFL teams in 1984, he decided to retire from pro football in November at age 29.[27]


After his third season in the NFL, Yarno married Sue Damrell in Spokane in June 1980.[28] They had two children, Julie and Brian, and divorced in 2000. Yarno married Sandy Hurtig in 2003 and they reside in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.


  1. ^ "1977 NFL Draft". Pro Football Hall of Fame. May 3–4, 1977. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Funerals: John R. "Dick" Yarno, Sr.". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). February 10, 2003. p. C7. 
  3. ^ "Nevin, Judith Ann (Yarno) (1944-2011)". Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ Derrick, Merle (November 18, 1972). "Ferris, SP Chronicle's All-City: Honorable Mention Offense". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). p. 11. 
  5. ^ a b c Payne, Bob (November 10, 1976). "'Obscure' John Yarno thinking ahead to bigs". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 19. 
  6. ^ Derrick, Merle (November 11, 1972). "Niksich claims No. 1 after thrilling win". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). p. 11. 
  7. ^ a b Payne, Bob (November 12, 1975). "Yarnos not delighted by prospect". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 16. 
  8. ^ Drosendahl, Glenn (November 12, 1975). "Yarno brothers don't like the idea". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. B1. 
  9. ^ "Yarno, Wanda Lee". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). (death notices). December 11, 1962. p. 17. 
  10. ^ "Lee B. Gregory". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). (obituary). April 1, 1980. p. 7B. 
  11. ^ Brown, Butch (July 29, 1977). "John Yarno learns enthusiastically". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 17. 
  12. ^ "Yarno named All-American". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. December 2, 1976. p. 39. 
  13. ^ "Contracts please Yarno". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). May 26, 1977. p. 44. 
  14. ^ Payne, Bob (December 3, 1976). "John Yarno:'Hard to believe'". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 33. 
  15. ^ "Dorsett heads AP's All-America team". Lewiston Morning Tribune. {Idaho}. Associated Press. December 3, 1976. p. 1B. 
  16. ^ "Selection shocks Yarno". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. December 3, 1976. p. 1B. 
  17. ^ "Hall of Famers arrive on campus". University of Idaho Athletics. September 6, 2007. 
  18. ^ "John Yarno named first team All-American". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1977. p. 44. 
  19. ^ Missildine, Harry (September 27, 1976). "Yarno vs. Yarno: brothers jaw-to-jaw". Spokesman Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 15. 
  20. ^ "Yarno a Hawk". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). May 4, 1977. p. 25. 
  21. ^ "Hawks like NW stars". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). Associated Press. May 4, 1977. p. 45. 
  22. ^ "Seahawks draft Vandals' Yarno". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). May 4, 1977. p. 1B. 
  23. ^ Brown, Butch (July 28, 1978). "Yarno, Long ready to start for Hawks". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 25. 
  24. ^ Brown, Butch (July 18, 1979). "Yarno anticipates quick recovery". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). p. 21. 
  25. ^ Brown, Bruce (December 12, 1979). "Yarno hits goal". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 53. 
  26. ^ Stalwick, Howie (August 30, 1983). "Yarno caught off-guard". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 19. 
  27. ^ Stalwick, Howie (November 6, 1984). "It's time to leave pros, says Yarno". Spokesman Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. B1. 
  28. ^ Van Sickel, Charlie (June 11, 1980). "Wednesday wandering: Wedding bells". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). p. 20. 

External links[edit]