Don James did not have -- or need -- a two-sided stone fireplace in his office.
He did not need an indoor practice facility, which is perhaps why his teams played so well in bad weather. He did not need ever-changing uniform styles each week. He did not need anything, really, other than a rather simple tower of scaffolding from which he oversaw practices and turned the University of Washington Huskies into one of the finest football programs in the country.
James, who died Sunday, was the greatest football coach Washington has ever had, which is saying something considering that Darrell Royal once coached there and Gil Dobie never lost a game in his nine years there. James took over a floundering program and turned it into the best team in the conference. He took the Huskies to 15 bowl games in 18 years, including six Rose Bowls. He won the co-national championship in 1991 and should have won it in 1984 (BYU? Really?).
This is why, when Sports Illustrated named the three best college coaches in the country one fall, the magazine's list was: No. 1, Don James; No. 2, Don James; No. 3, Don James.
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