Speaker Foley, coach James were state icons

The OlympianOctober 23, 2013 

Within a matter of days, the state of Washington lost two legends that once defined the best in politics and athletics, and whose legacies have since eluded us.

Former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley, the first westerner to hold the position, championed an extinct method of governing: civility and bipartisan compromise. Foley conducted a 30-year civics lesson, teaching others that, despite political differences, an elected official should serve his country first.

Foley’s inclusive, America-first style was a striking contrast to recent events in Congress, and it’s sorely missed.

Former University of Washington head football coach Don James led the Huskies to the most wins, most conference championships and most Rose Bowl appearances in school history. The program quickly declined after Dawgfather James quit in 1993, and it has never recovered.

Could Foley and James succeed today? We don’t know, but, for a time, they made us proud to be Washingtonians.

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