The college football world in general and the coaching fraternity specifically has sadly lost a legend.
In a press release, Washington announced that former Huskies head coach Don James died Sunday morning. The school stated that James died from the effects of pancreatic cancer, for which he had recently been undergoing treatment.
James was 81 years old.
“My family and I are extremely saddened to hear of Coach James’ passing,” current UW head coach Steve Sarkisian said in a statement. “His accomplishments as a football coach stand alone, but what made him truly special is the quality of man he was away from the game. The guidance and leadership he instilled into this program and community are still felt today, and will continue to be felt here for a long, long time.”
James, who played his college football for the Miami Hurricanes, spent 18 seasons as the Huskies head coach (1975-1992), guiding UW to six conference titles and the 1991 national championship. He finished his Hall of Fame career — he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997 — with a record of 153-58-2 at UW.
Born in Massillon, Ohio, James’ influence goes beyond the immense impact he made at Washington. His coaching tree includes the likes of Nick Saban, Jim Mora (Jr. and Sr.), Gary Pinkel, Dom Capers and many, many others.
Prior to being named UW’s coach, he served as the head coach at Kent State from 1971-74. One of his players during that time was Saban, who has long credited James for sparking his interest in coaching.
Video purports to show part of brawl involving Wazzu football players
A situation that began to grow legs earlier this week now has some video evidence to prop it up. Purportedly.
Monday, reports surfaced that a group of Washington State football players triggered a brawl at a backyard party in Pullman early Saturday morning. The players allegedly threw fireworks at attendees, which twice led to a request by the house’s residents to leave. A third request saw the verbal engagement escalate into a physical confrontation on the part of the players, with one of the residents being knocked unconscious for 10 minutes and another sustaining a broken jaw that’s going to require reconstructive surgery.
The names of the Cougars reportedly involved have not been divulged.
A police investigation into the situation is ongoing, and felony charges against those involved are possible. One snippet that will be of interest to those investigating the brawl was obtained and posted by Spokane Spokesman-Review.
Head coach Mike Leach has yet to comment publicly on the incident, although athletic director Bill Moos released the following statement:
In regards to the events that took place over the past weekend, the university was made aware of the situation shortly after the incident occurred. It is our understanding there is a thorough investigation underway by local law enforcement and we will cooperate fully as we take these matters seriously. In addition, facts are being gathered within the athletic department in order to provide assistance. We have high expectations for the conduct of WSU student-athletes, and treat any alleged allegations with the utmost transparency. The WSU athletic staff is in constant communication with the Office of the President and the Office of Student Life to ensure that university leadership is aware of the continuing investigation by local law enforcement. We will refrain from further comment until the findings of the investigation are complete.
Turner Smiley, UNT’s leading returning WR, arrested for DWI
For the third consecutive day, it’s time to hit the reset button on the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.
The latest to trigger a move back to double zeroes is North Texas’ Turner Smiley, with the Denton Police Department’s website showing that the wide receiver has been charged with driving while intoxicated. The arrest took place shortly before 4 a.m. CST Wednesday.
No details of what led up to the arrest and charge are available.
A UNT spokesman first confirmed that the football program is aware of the development, and later a statement attributed to head coach Seth Littrell was released.
We are aware of the situation regarding Turner Smiley from earlier this morning and we are still in the process of collecting all the facts. Until I have an opportunity to talk with him I will refrain from further comment. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes and we take situations like this very seriously. We will take an immediate and appropriate course of action after I speak with him.
Last season, Smiley was third on the team in receptions (25) and receiving yards (255). He’s the leading returning receiver on the Mean Green, and the only player on the roster with more than 17 receptions last season.
Iowa State TE survives being hit by car, albeit with 103 stitches
The college football world was rocked by tragedy over the weekend, and it appears another football program narrowly averted its own heartbreak as well.
Thursday evening, the Springfield News-Leader reports, Chase Allen was hit by a vehicle outside of the Iowa State practice facility. Allen managed to jump just prior to impact, although he landed on the car’s windshield, shattering it.
From the News-Leader:
Allen said he had a large amount of broken glass in his back, but managed to avoid hitting his head or suffering any bone injuries.
Allen popped up and was taken to an emergency room by some of his Iowa State coaches.
Allen took 103 stitches on his back after being cut by shattered windshield glass.
“The coaches were there with me in the E.R., and I’ll be cleared when the stitches heal up. (It) could have been so much worse,” Allen said.
According to an ISU official, the tight end should be at least cleared in part for the start of summer camp early next month. It’s likely Allen will be held out of full contact, at least for the early portion of camp.
Allen came to Ames this summer after signing with the Cyclones this past February as a three-star recruit. He was rated as the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Missouri and the No. 26 tight end in the country. In 247Sports.com rankings, only one 2016 signee ranked higher than Allen — offensive tackle Sean Foster.
Cal to give away bobblehead of Marshawn Lynch celebrating on injury cart
In 2006, Marshawn Lynch continued creating the legend that would ultimately morph into “Beast Mode” when, following an overtime win over Washington in which his 22-yard touchdown run proved to be the game-winner, the then-Cal running back decided the best way to commemorate the victory was by commandeering an injury cart and driving it around the Memorial Stadium turf. Lynch’s “Ghost Ride the Whip” became legendary in the Bay Area…
… and now it’s being commemorated by the Golden Bears in bobblehead form: