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The ‘Dawgfather Dies…

November 5th, 2013 · No Comments

It’s funny to Mwah, that while recently in Indianapolis and talking about legendary (college) coaches, with the subject naturally drifting towards Indy’s Hallowed Son Coach Knight, I tossed out the name Don James, arguably the most revered coach of the University of Washington’s beloved Huskies, to which naturally I had to explain who he was to my amiable host who’d never heard of him…

thus I found it karmic, or “Isn’t it Ironic?” That upon my return to the great Northwest whilst perusing the New York times obituary section I came upon the name Don James - with his obituary being published on October 22nd, having passed away at the age of 80 after battling Pancreatic Cancer…

Having read this story it made my memory banks recall the last time I’d seen him in the flesh, while I can’t recall exactly where, albeit I think it was in Redmond? (WA) All I recall is being overly surprised that there was a long line crowding the entrance to the local Fred Meyer store nearly some twenty years ago as everybody was patiently waiting to have The ‘Dawgfather autograph some piece of memorabilia - as I stopped and watched him amicably sign a copy of his new book for the enthusiastic fan in-line before going about my business.

James stats as the Huskies Head Coach are fantastic, having racked up the record of 153-58-2 during his 18-year stint (1975-92) , along with multiple Rose Bowl victories, while I was unaware that during his prime he ranked only behind the legends of the game: Bear Bryant, Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden in Bowl Game victories with 10…

And while the latest Huskies QB to make the NFL is current Tennessee Titans starter Jake Locker, the list of signal callers for the ‘Dawgs who went onto the NFL during the ‘Dawgfather’s reign include the likes of Billy Joe Hobert, Cary Conklin, , Chris Chandler, Hugh Millen, Steve Pelluer, Tom Flick, with Mark Brunell being the last.
Yet instead I enjoy the story more of his recruiting a passed over Southern California player by the name of Warren Moon, the first black Quarterback at Washington - who led the ‘Dawgs to an upset Rose Bowl victory over the mighty Michigan Wolverines in 1978! Along with being named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of that year’s Rose bowl.

As you may have heard of Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon who’s also been inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, not to mention being a five time Grey Cup winner, twice Grey Cup MVP along with nine All-Pro selections in the NFL.

After having gone undrafted in the NFL after his college career, Moon played for the powerhouse Edmonton Eskimos before playing with the National Football League team he’s most synonymous with, the Houston Oilers, before finishing out his career with stints for the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs, and now spends his time as Steve “HOLY SMOKES!” Raible’s Sidekick; Err Colour Commentator for the Seahawks local Radio Broadcasts…

And thus another fleeting memory comes flooding back as I recall sitting next to two U of W football players upon a flight home from The Valley of the Sun in the early 1990’s, or was it the late ’80’s ? As I think they’d just played in some Bowl Game down there, perhaps in the fiesta Bowl? As I just remember them being two really B-I-G Dudes, although I’m not sure if they’d be able to fit into today’s miniscule economy; Err coach seats…

While my jaunt down memory lane about the mighty ‘Dawgs made me fondly recall the year 1991 when they went undefeated at 12-0 and were co-National Champions with powerhouse Miami, as my host Dave chimed in how his Indianapolis Colts 1992 Overall Number One draft pick Bad Arse Huskies Defensive Standout Steve Emtman had gone bust… Which naturally led us to the topic of another legendary bust known here in the Pacific Northwest as “The Boz,” a.k.a. Brian Bosworth who I’ll forever remember his “Mr. Ed” T-Shirts in jest of Denver Broncos Hall of Famer QB John Elway. Not to mention being run over by Bo Jackson, ’cause Y’all know, ‘Bo knows Football, having run roughshod over the entire Seahawks defense ‘Wayback in the Kingdome!

And while current Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian tries to rebuild the ‘Dawgs into their past glory, I suspect there’ll never be another Don James era at the University of Washington…

Don James, Long time Huskies Coach dies at 80

Tags: Misc · College Football


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