Don James has passed away at the age of 80, after losing his battle to pancreatic cancer, according to multiple reports.
There is no doubt that if Washington carved images of their athletic heroes into the face of Mount Rainier, Don James would be up there. The luxury of being disappointing in a program’s progress in resurrecting itself is a luxury born from an extended period of success, and the architect of that success, without question, was Don James.
James coached the Huskies from 1975-92, winning the team’s only national championship in 1991, and winning four of the six Rose Bowls he took the team to.
I was six years old when James retired. I’m certain that I don’t have the eloquence or familiarity to properly express the gratitude that I feel towards James for contributing the enrichment of the early part of my life, and I don’t have the awareness to reflect on an era of Huskies football that I was barely aware of in real time.
Nonetheless, we offer our condolences to James’ family and friends, as well as former players. Rest in Peace Don James, and thank you for everything.