Friday, December 29, 2023

Legends of the Sun Bowl

Don James 2007

Don James

Sun Bowl Coach
1979 & 1986

James brought Washington to El Paso in 1979 and 1986. In 1979, his No. 13 Huskies stunned No. 11 Texas, 14-7, at Sun Bowl Stadium. He returned to the Sun City in 1986, where No. 12 Washington was knocked off by No. 13 Alabama, 28-6, a game in which Bennett played. He played collegiately at the University of Miami before serving a two-year stint in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. After a two-year stint as a high school football coach in Miami, Fla., James moved on to the college ranks where he served as an assistant at Florida State (1956-65), Michigan (1966-67) and Colorado (1968-70). In 1971, James became head coach at Kent State University, where he compiled a 25-19 record over four years. While there, he coached NFL great Jack Lambert and current Alabama head coach Nick Saban. He led the Golden Flashes to their only conference title in 1972 and a trip to the Tangerine Bowl. In December of 1974, James was hired by the University of Washington. He was head coach for 18 years (1975-1992). He led the Huskies to six Rose Bowl appearances and the 1991 national championship. In all, James’ Huskies appeared in 15 bowl games over 18 years, including a Pac-10 record nine straight from 1979-87. James compiled a 153-57-2 (.726) record at Washington, including a then-record 99 wins in Pac-10 Conference play. He also led the Huskies to 22 consecutive wins from 1990 to 1992. He was twice named national coach of the year in 1984 and 1991. James was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1993 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. In 22 years as a head coach, James was 178-76-3 (.698), with 16 bowl appearances and seven conference championships.

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