Alabama Coach Nick Saban praised his mentor Don James. James passed away from pancreatic cancer, according to a statement released by the University of Washington. Saban’s statement follows below:
Quote from Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban on Passing of Don James
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Coach James’ family. He was a special man and meant the world to me. There aren’t enough words to describe not only the great coach he was, but how much he cared for people and the positive impact he made in the lives of everyone he came in contact with.
“Coach James was my mentor and probably did more than anybody to influence me in this profession. Like I’ve said before, I didn’t plan on going into coaching. He saw something in me and asked me to stay on at Kent State as a graduate assistant after my playing career was over. I really enjoyed it, got hired full time and went on from there.
“From an organizational standpoint, our program today is run much like he ran his program. He was very organized, efficient, and did an outstanding job of defining expectations for players, coaches and everyone in the organization.
“He was always personal and inspirational to players and people around him. He wanted you to reach your full potential as a football player, but more importantly, he wanted you to do well in school and become the best person you could be so you would be successful in life. He was the same way when it came to assistant coaches or anyone who worked for him, you were a better person because of the time you spent with Coach James.”