It has been announced that former Washington head coach Don James has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and will begin chemotherapy next week. The 80-year-old James spent time in the hospital earlier this month, but the exact reason for the hospitalization was not clear at the time. Now it has been clarified that James underwent two surgeries during that period.
This is obviously tough news for Husky Nation, as James is simply the most influential individual in Husky football history. As head coach from 1975 to 1992, James won 212 games, winning 72% of contests over the course of his career. Perhaps most impressively, his teams played in six rose bowls, including a streak of three in a row from 1990 to 1992.
James departed in 1992, resigning in protest over the administration’s handling of NCAA and Pac-10 sanctions. While the Huskies found some success in the late-90’s and the very beginning of the 21st century, the Don James era is the golden era of Husky football and the backbone of the program’s legacy.
Despite the sour note of his departure, James is revered by Husky fans and continues to serve as the standard by which all other UW coaches are compared, and his presence can still be felt today. Just recently he spoke to Coach Sark’s team during practice, and of course a section of the stadium, the Don James Center, is named in his honor.
His family has said that James is resting at his home following his two surgeries. They have also requested privacy.