American Football Database
American Football Database
Jack Elway
Biographical details
Born(1931-05-30)May 30, 1931
Hoquiam, Washington, U.S.
DiedApril 15, 2001(2001-04-15) (aged 69)
Palm Springs, California
Playing career
1950Washington State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Port Angeles HS (WA)
Grays Harbor College
Montana (assistant)
Washington State (assistant)
Cal State Northridge
San Jose State
Frankfurt Galaxy
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1993–1999Denver Broncos (scout)
Head coaching record
Overall80–60–4 (college)
10–10 (WLAF)
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
1 Pacific Coast Athletic Association (1981)

John Albert "Jack" Elway, Sr. (May 30, 1931 – April 15, 2001) was an American football player and head coach; he was the father of John Elway, a Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback.

Early life

Elway was a native of Hoquiam, Washington, and played quarterback at Washington State University in Pullman for one season until a knee surgery ended his playing career. He earned both bachelor's and master's degrees from WSU.[1]

Early coaching career

Elway then taught and coached at Port Angeles High School; all three of his children were born in Port Angeles. In 1961 he was hired as the head coach at Grays Harbor College, a junior college in Aberdeen, near his hometown of Hoquiam in southwestern Washington. Following the 1966 season, he became an assistant coach in the Big Sky Conference at the University of Montana under head coach Jack Swarthout. After five seasons in Missoula with the Grizzlies,[2] he moved to the Pac-8 at his alma mater following the 1971 season, as an assistant under head coach Jim Sweeney, and stayed in Pullman for four seasons.[3] Sweeney abruptly resigned after the 1975 season and went to Fresno State, so Elway joined the staff at neighboring Idaho under head coach Ed Troxel in February 1976. Elway replaced Dennis Erickson, who had joined Sweeney at Fresno in December. Elway didn't last long in Moscow; he left in late March after only five weeks on the Vandals' staff to become a Division II head coach in southern California.[4]

Head coaching career

In late March 1976, Elway was introduced as the head coach at Cal State Northridge in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.[5] At the time, Elway's son John was a budding high school quarterback, finishing his freshman year at Pullman High School.[6] He transferred to Granada Hills High School at the start of his sophomore year, and his play over the next three football seasons invited scores of scholarship offers; he selected Stanford and enrolled in 1979.[7]

After three seasons at Northridge, Jack Elway moved up the California coast (and up to Division I) to San Jose State following the 1978 season,[2] where his first offensive coordinator was Dennis Erickson. They employed the spread offense, which Elway had picked up from his son's high school coach, and then used at Northridge.[8] San Jose State had considerable success, especially against Stanford, where son John was the starting quarterback through the 1982 season. Jack Elway's Spartans won three consecutive games over Stanford from 1981–83, and he compiled an overall record of 35–20–1 (.634) in five seasons.

After John's graduation, Jack Elway moved the few miles up the peninsula to Stanford in 1984, where he was head coach for five seasons and compiled 25–29–2 record (.446). In 1991 he coached the Frankfurt Galaxy of the WLAF during the team's first two years. Elway later worked in the Denver Broncos scouting department from 1993–99, the last five as director of pro scouting.[1]


Elway died on April 15, 2001, following an apparent heart attack in Palm Springs, California. Elway was survived by his wife, Jan, daughters, Lee Ann and Jana, son John, and eight grandchildren. Jana, twin sister of John, died of lung cancer in 2002 at the age of 42.

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Cal State Northridge Matadors (Div. II) (1976–1978)
1976 Cal State Northridge 8–3
1977 Cal State Northridge 7–3–1
1978 Cal State Northridge 5–5
Cal State Northridge: 20–11–1
San Jose State Spartans (Pacific Coast Athletic Association) (1979–1983)
1979 San Jose State 6–4–1 4–0–1 2nd
1980 San Jose State 7–4 3–2 3rd
1981 San Jose State 9–3 5–0 1st L California
1982 San Jose State 8–3 4–2 3rd
1983 San Jose State 5–6 3–3 T–3rd
San Jose State: 35–20–1 19–7–1
Stanford Cardinal (Pacific-10 Conference) (1984–1988)
1984 Stanford 5–6 3–5 T–7th
1985 Stanford 4–7 3–5 7th
1986 Stanford 8–4 5–3 T–4th L Gator
1987 Stanford 5–6 4–4 T–4th
1988 Stanford 3–6–2 1–5–2 9th
Stanford: 25–29–1 16–22–2
Total: 80–60–4
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Frankfurt Galaxy (WLAF) (1991–1992)
1991 Frankfurt Galaxy 7–3 1–1 3rd European
1992 Frankfurt Galaxy 3–7 3–1 2nd European
Frankfurt Galaxy: 10–10
Total: 10–10


  1. 1.0 1.1 Seattle Times - Jack Elway, father and longtime coach, dead - 2001-04-17
  2. 2.0 2.1 'Modesto Bee - Spartans hire new coach - 1978-12-13 - p.D-7
  3. - ESPN Classic - Jack Elway was major influence on son's career - Associated Press - 2001-04-22
  4. Kingman (AZ) Miner - Idaho Staff adds Elway - Associated Press - 1976-02-18 - p.10
  5. Free Lance-Star - Jack Elway land head coaching job - Associated Press - 1976-03-25 - p.10
  6. The Idahonian (Moscow) - From Pullman to Pasadena - 1987-01-23 - p.17
  7. Family Weekly - The delicious dilemma of John Elway - 1982-10-17 - p.6
  8. - Jack Elway Dies at Age 69 / John Elway's dad coached Stanford, San Jose State - 2001-04-17

External links

Template:Cal State Northridge Matadors football coach navbox

Template:Frankfurt Galaxy coach navbox