Former Bremerton and University of Washington football star Don Heinrich, the Kitsap Sun’s Athlete of the Century, is profiled on the Sportspressnw.com site. David Eskenazi and Steve Rudman have written a Wayback Machine piece about the former leader of the Warren Avenue Gang. There’s some great photos, and anecdotes.
Don’t know that I’d ever read the story about Heinrich committing to Oregon and later being talked out of his decision to become a Husky.
Did you know that Heinrich quarterbacked the first game in Dallas Cowboys history?
Did you know that Heinrich held all of Washington’s passing records until Sonny Sixkiller came along?
Jim Wiley, who played with Heinrich at Bremerton and the UW, said, “Don was something special in the huddle. He had the knack of making everybody feel he was important. After a half-dozen or so plays in a game, he would start asking offensive linemen questions: ‘OK, what have you got to tell me? Who have you found that’s soft?’ His big asset is that kind of secret sense of looking at a defense and knowing what to run against it.”
Heinrich became an announcer for the 49ers, Huskies and Seahawks following his NFL days. He died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 62 on Feb. 29, 1992, at his home in Saratoga, CA.
Here’s our Athlete of the Century story, written by Chris Barron.
Here’s a link to a story about the 1947 Bremerton Wildcats that Heinrich led to an unbeaten season.
(Side note: At the last Kitsap Athletic Roundtable meeting, Bremerton’s Frank Kidrick brought one of Heinrich’s old UW letter sweaters to the meeting.)