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James served as head coach for the Washington Huskies from 1975-1992, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
He finished his coaching career with the Huskies with a record of 153-58-2 in 18 seasons, including a national championship in 1991.
“My family and I are extremely saddened to hear of Coach James' passing,” current UW coach Steve Sarkisian said in a University of Washington news release.
“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 is survived by his wife, Carol, their three children: Jeff, Jill and Jeni, and 10 grandchildren.