KENT, OH — Kent State University is mourning the loss of coaching icon Don James, who passed away Sunday.
James, 80, was a Massillon native who served as the Golden Flashes’ head football coach from 1971-1974. He helped the Flashes to the program’s only Mid-American Conference Championship in 1972. That season, James was named MAC Coach of the Year after the Flashes made their second bowl appearance in school history.
In 1975, James left Kent State for the University of Washington, where he lead the Huskies to six Rose Bowls and a national title in 1991.
James had an influence of a number of players, including current Alabama coach Nick Saban and current Missouri coach Gary Pinkel.
This year, James made a surprise appearance at a team meeting before Kent State’s season opener. Head Coach Paul Haynes plans to honor James in Saturday’s game against Buffalo.