January 26, 2012 in Sports

Whitworth football great Long dies

 

Doug Long, one of the top football players in Whitworth history and the most recent Pirate to play regularly in the NFL, died Saturday after a 2 1/2-year battle with cancer.

Long was 56 and lived in the Olympia area.

No services were held, but other Whitworth players are planning a celebration of his life this spring, former teammate Steve Wilson said.

“It’s been a long and arduous experience for the family,” Wilson said.

Long, a two-time All-American at Whitworth in 1975-76, was inducted into the Whitworth Heritage Gallery Hall of Fame in 1995.

“Doug would have been a standout college player at any level,” said former Pirate head coach Hugh Campbell, who went on to his own Hall of Fame coaching career in the Canadian Football League and NFL.

“But he was an even better person than he was a player. Whitworth was just the right fit for him.”

Long graduated in 1977 and was immediately signed as a free agent by the Seattle Seahawks. He played two seasons in the NFL as a defensive back and on special teams.

He was awarded a game ball for his play in Seattle’s 27-7 win over the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 22, 1978.

Long was born on May 24, 1955, and grew up in Shelton, Wash., graduating in 1973. He enrolled that fall at Whitworth.

In college, he caught 132 passes for 2,171 yards, earning first-team NAIA All-America honors as a junior and second-team honors as a senior.

Long helped lead Whitworth to a share of the Northwest Conference football championship in 1976.

After his final season at Whitworth, Long became the first Pirate invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game.

“Doug Long was a competitor,” said Wilson, a former teammate at Whitworth and retired NFL game official. “He gave everything on every play every time.”

Long is survived by his wife, Kristie, son Kyle and daughters Rachael and Kenzie. He and Kristie worked in commercial real estate in the Olympia area.

Following his playing career, Long became active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Pro Athletes’ Outreach.

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