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John Albert Elway, Sr

Birthplace: Hoquiam, Grays Harbor County, Washington, United States
Death: April 15, 2001 (69)
Palm Springs, Riverside County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Harry Stuart Elway and Alice Electia Elway
Husband of Private
Father of Private; Jana Elway-Seaver and John Elway

Managed by: Alex Bickle
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Jack Elway

John Albert "Jack" Elway, Sr. (May 30, 1931 – April 15, 2001) was an American football player and coach. He was the head football coach at California State University, Northridge from 1976 to 1978, at San Jose State University from 1979 to 1983, and at Stanford University from 1984 to 1989, compiling a career college football record of 80–60–4. Elway also served as the head coach for the Frankfurt Galaxy of the World League of American Football (WLAF) from 1991 to 1992, tallying a mark of 10–10. He was the father of John Elway, 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.

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, 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. 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 stay long as an assistant in Moscow; he left in late March after only five weeks on the Vandals' staff to accept a Division II head coaching position in southern California.

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. At the time, Elway's son John was a budding high school quarterback, finishing his freshman year at Pullman High School. 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.

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, 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. 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 to 1983, 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.


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.

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Jack Elway's Timeline

May 30, 1931
Hoquiam, Grays Harbor County, Washington, United States
June 28, 1960
Port Angeles, Clallam County, Washington, United States
June 28, 1960
Port Angeles, Clallam County, Washington, United States
April 15, 2001
Age 69
Palm Springs, Riverside County, California, United States