The sad news yesterday of Don James’ passing will obviously be the focus of this morning’s links. And there are many to get to, so here we go.
— Here is our main story on the life and career of James, including some reaction from those who knew him well.
The first staff meeting of Don James’ long, legendary football coaching career at the University of Washington began with an edict that exemplified the coach’s famed attention to detail.
This is how Jim Lambright, a holdover at that time from former coach Jim Owens’ staff, remembers that meeting prior to James’ inaugural season at UW in 1975.
“Everybody take a look at your watch,” Lambright recalled James telling the staff. “This meeting is to start at 7:30. So when I come through the door, it is 7:30. If I come through the door at 7:40, it is 7:30. If I come through the door at 7:15, it is 7:30. Do you hear me?”
Yes, Coach. Loud and clear.
James, who died Sunday morning at age 80 at his home in Kirkland after a battle with pancreatic cancer, will be remembered for his unrelenting organizational skills, which made so successful his storied, 18-year tenure as the Huskies’ coach. He will be remembered as the best to ever hold that position at UW, leading the Huskies to six conference championships, four Rose Bowl championships, and, most notably, an unbeaten, 12-0 record in 1991 that led to a share of the national championship.
— John McGrath wrote this column about James’ personality.
Don James. The name rang a bell, and I could sort of place the face, but otherwise, I had nothing more insightful to offer than, “I heard that guy’s a pretty good coach.”
“Pretty good? Is that what you just said? Pretty good?”
The tone in Rick’s voice had changed, from helpful big brother to frustrated teacher.
“Kid,” he told me, “you’ve some homework to do. Don James is one of the greatest college football coaches of all time.”
— Here’s a photo gallery of James through the years.
— This USA Today story includes some reaction from Alabama coach Nick Saban, who played for James at Kent State.
— Jim Caple of ESPN.com has this column about James’ old-school approach.
That’s all for right now. We’ll be back later, after Steve Sarkisian’s Monday press conference.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple