Jack Elway Passes Away
April 16, 2001
DENVER (AP) - Jack Elway, the father of John Elway and an innovative collegecoach in the 1970s and '80s, died of an apparent heart attack at his home inPalm Springs, Calif. He was 69.
Jack Elway died Sunday morning, Broncos spokesman Jim Saccomano said. JohnElway, the retired Denver Broncos' quarterback, flew to Palm Springs on Sundayto help with funeral arrangements.
Jack Elway retired last year as the Broncos' director of pro scouting.
'A lot of people don't understand how close he (John Elway) and Jack were,even the people around him,' Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said.
Coach Mike Shanahan said Jack Elway was crucial in building the Broncos' twoSuper Bowl championship teams.
'Jack was happy to stay in the background and let others get more publicattention, but his position with us was truly invaluable,' he said.
For the past two weeks, the elder Elway lent his expertise in the Broncos'predraft meetings, working side by side with his son. John Elway considered hisfather his best friend.
John Elway, who retired from the Broncos after winning a second Super Bowltitle in 1998 and who has designs on owning or running an NFL team, wasoffering football insight and learning about draft preparations.
When the meetings wrapped up Friday, Jack Elway returned to Palm Springs.
Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick, an assistant under Elway at Stanford,called him a 'classy, loving person. He was as fine a coach as there was and,more important, as fine a man as there was.'
A native of Hoquiam, Wash., Jack Elway played quarterback at WashingtonState, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees. During the 1960s,he was a high school coach in Washington and Montana.
At the college level, he was head coach at Cal State-Northridge (1976-78),San Jose State (1979-83) and Stanford (1984-88).
In 34 seasons as a head coach and assistant coach in high school, juniorcollege and college, he posted a .650 winning percentage. He was selected ashead coach in both the Blue-Gray and East-West Shrine games.
Known for his creative, multidimensional offenses, Elway was inducted intothe Cal State-Northridge Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997. He was inducted intoSan Jose State's Ring of Honor in 1998, joining a group that included DickVermeil, Bill Walsh and Steve DeBerg.
He also was coach of the Frankfurt Galaxy in the World League from 1991-92and scouted for the New York Jets in 1990.
He spent seven years in the Broncos' scouting department (1993-99), the lastfive as director of pro scouting, and subsequently served the team as ascouting consultant until his death.
Besides his son, Elway is survived by his wife, Jan, daughters Lee Ann andJana, and eight grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held in Palm Springs on April 24. Funeralarrangements were pending.