Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Don "The Dawgfather" James

Don "The Dawgfather" James


  • Position: Coach
  • School: Kent State, Washington
  • Years: 1971-1992
  • Inducted: 1997
  • Place of Birth: Massillion, OH
  • Date of Birth: Dec 31, 1932
  • Date of Death: Oct 20, 2013

Member Biography

Don James lettered in four sports--football, basketball, baseball, and track--in high school at Massillon, Ohio. He was the starting quarterback for Miami (Florida) in 1952-53 and graduated with honors. James served in the Army 1954-56, then had a career as assistant football coach at Kansas 1956-57, Florida State 1959-65, Michigan 1966-67, and Colorado 1968-70. For one year, 1958, he was head coach at Southwest High School in Miami, Florida. James was head coach at Kent State 1971-74 with a 25-19-1 record. His 1972 team won the Mid-American Conference championship. He moved to Washington and was head coach 18 years 1975-92 with a 153-57-2 record. For his career the figures were 178-76-3, a percentage of .698. James was named Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association in 1977 and the Football Writers Association in 1991. Washington was in a bowl game for 14 of his last 16 seasons. His bowl record in that time was 10-4. His teams finished first six times and second four times in the Pac-10. He set a conference record for most games won. His coaching philosophy emphasized defense, teamed with a disciplined offense.
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