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James Phelan
James Phelan

Last College:
Notre Dame '19

Head Football Coach


Record at UW:

James M. Phelan graduated from Notre Dame in 1919 and started at quarterback for the Irish from 1915-1917, when he guided them to a 21-3-1 record in Jesse Harper's last three years as head coach. Following graduation Phelan served in the US Army as a First Lieutenant. In 1920 he was hired at Missouri as head coach where he was 13-3-0 in two seasons before he moved to Purdue in 1922. In eight seasons as the Boilermakers head coach Phelan was 35-22-5 including an 8-0 squad in 1929. In 12 years as head coach at Washington, Phelan guided the Huskies to a 65-37-8 record. The Huskies went to the Rose Bowl in 1937 where they lost to Pittsburgh 21-0. Phelan guided the Huskies to their first bowl victory in the Pineapple Bowl in 1938 when they beat Hawaii 53-13. Phelan left Washington in 1941 for St. Mary's (Calif.). He later became the first Husky head coach to coach in the professional football league when he skippered the New York Titans, New York Yankees, Baltimore Colts, and Texas Rangers. He later got involved in politics and served three terms as County Commissioner for Sacramento County in California where he became a personal friend of then-governor Ronald Reagan. He died November 14, 1979 at the age of 81. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973 and into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1986.

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