Washington Mt. Rushmore of Sports: Don James

To kick off the new year, we are reposting our Washington Mount Rushmore of Sports (originally published in 2009). This series of posts was inspired by an earlier feature by ESPN’s Sportscenter. [Gary Payton] [Steve Largent] [Ken Griffey Jr.]


“The Dawgfather”

Throughout the history of the University of Washington’s football program, the program has gone through their ups and downs. Without a doubt, their period coached by Don James was their most dominant era. Don James is  the greatest football coach in our state’s history. In his 18 seasons as head coach, he turned the University of Washington into a national football powerhouse.

James began his UW coaching career when he was hired to coach in 1975. In his first season the Huskies went 6-5. It did not take long for James to get the program going, in his third season James led the Huskies to a 10-2 record and a 27-20 victory in the Rose Bowl. James and the Huskies never slowed down, reaching a total of 14 bowl games and winning ten of them during his coaching tenure.

Six of those bowl games were the Rose Bowl where the Dawgs were 4-2. He also won an Orange Bowl to finish the 1984 season.

James’ most famous season was in 1991 when the Huskies went undefeated. They capped off the season with a 34-14 Rose Bowl victory over Michigan. The Huskies were named National Champions, sharing the title with the University of Miami.

The Dawgs won 22 straight games between 1990 and 1992. During this era, the Huskies were a major power in both the Pac-10 and the nation. James was twice named national coach of the year, in 1981 and 1984.

On August 22nd, 1993, Don James resigned as head coach at the University of Washington. The greatest era of Husky football ended. Don James ended his career with a 153-57-2 record at UW and a 178-76-3 total career record. James was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

He is greatest coach in the history of University of Washington football.