Washington announces plans to honor Don James
SEATTLE (AP) — Steve Sarkisian took a moment Monday to think back on his favorite moment with former Washington coach Don James.
It wasn’t one of the practices or team meetings James would attend sometimes. It was a casual picture of James and Sarkisian shaking hands on the field before the 2010 Holiday Bowl in San Diego.
“It’s something I look at, quite honestly, every single day before I leave my office,” Sarkisian said. “It wasn’t a planned photo. It was one that was caught spontaneously, and something I cherish today and will cherish forever.”
The school continued mourning the passing of James, who died on Sunday at the age of 80 due to pancreatic cancer.
James coached at Washington from 1975-92 and led the school to a share of the 1991 national championship. He arrived at the school as an unknown from Kent State and turned Washington into a power program, helping bring attention to the West Coast beyond what was happening in Los Angeles with USC and UCLA.
The school announced a series of tributes to James that will take place this week. A public memorial service for the coach will be held on Sunday afternoon at Alaska Airlines Arena, with details for the service still being finalized.
A day before the memorial, the Huskies will host California in an 8 p.m. kickoff. James will be honored throughout the game. Players and coaches will wear decals with the initials “DJ” and members of his family will serve as the honorary captains for the pre-game coin toss.
The Washington band will also perform a tribute to James during halftime that will include a memorial video.
“I think it is fitting that this week is homecoming and we have an amazing opportunity to celebrate coach James in a very tasteful manner,” Sarkisian said.