When Sports Illustrated once named the top three college football coaches in America, their list was:
“1. Don James. 2. Don James. 3. Don James.”
It was with understandable reason. In the eighteen years that James coached at Washington, the Huskies appeared in six Rose Bowls, won a national championship, and had a reputation for doing things the right way. When the Pac-10 Conference subsequently hit Washington with controversial sanctions in 1993, James resigned in protest, and this brought an ignominious end to a brilliant career.
Husky Football in the Don James Era offers a mesmerizing portrait of the golden moments and times of tumult that defined the years 1975-1993. This unprecedented look at the people, games and history stem from personal accounts from Warren Moon, Napoleon Kaufman, Steve Emtman, Chris Chandler, Ed Cunningham, Jacque Robinson, Ron Holmes, Dana Hall, Joe Steele and scores of others, including former Washington State Cougar Coach Jim Walden.
Among the many stories are depictions of the 1978 Rose Bowl Championship, Alabama’s Bear Bryant coming to Husky Stadium in an epic showdown with Don James, the devastating loss to the Cougars in 1982, the Orange Bowl triumph over Oklahoma, Oregon State's stunning upset over UW in '85, Colorado's trip to Seattle following the death of their quarterback in '89, the great battle against Cal in ’91, the back-to-back wins over Nebraska in '91 & '92, and Don James addressing the media following the announcement the Huskies had won the national championship for 1991.
Also included is the never-before-told story of Don James' final days and hours as head coach at Washington, from the viewpoint of Don and Carol James, as well former UW President William Gerberding. This gripping conclusion culminates with the players' tribute to their former coach, prior to the 1993 Washington-Stanford game.
Much more than just a typical sports book, Husky Football in the Don James Era is an essential part of Washington football history, and required reading for anyone who loves Husky football and the honorable man who was its coach.
The most electrifying modern era of Washington football, from exhilarating highs to exasperating lows, is well chronicled by Derek Johnson, who draws insights on the tumult from those who made the Don James era so memorable.
Any Husky fan is sure to find much to learn and enjoy in this exhaustively detailed account of the Don James era. The interviews with many of the key participants, including James himself, are particularly revelatory and Johnson doesn't shy away from delving deep into the controversial end of that era.
I know that not only Washington fans but all college football fans will enjoy Derek Johnson's book. It's a great read. I loved it!
Derek Johnson's book is an essential addition to the library of any Husky fan. It chronicles an unforgettable, championship chapter in the history of Northwest sports-- much of it in the words and recollections of the people
who made history.
Derek Johnson is the author of three books, including Husky Football in the Don James Era, The Dawgs of War, and Bow Down to Willingham: How White Guilt Enabled a Secretly Malicious Coach to Destroy the Once-Mighty Washington Huskies.