GSL record passer, longtime East Valley volleyball coach Jim Dorr dies
Jim Dorr’s mother never wanted her sons to play football.
He ended up playing one year at Rogers, his senior season in 1977, and it was one for the record books.
Dorr, a quarterback, finished with a single-season best of 1,898 yards passing, vaulting past Bill Etter of Lewis and Clark (1,256).
One of Dorr’s main targets was his brother, John. The media coined the phrase ‘Dorr to Dorr connection’ that season to describe the highly successful Rogers offense in coach Bill Diedrick’s run-and-shoot attack. Diedrick’s offense was the first true passing scheme the league had seen.
Dorr still ranks in the Greater Spokane League’s top 10 in single-season passing at No. 8.
He died Thursday after a two-year struggle with complications from a brain aneurysm. He was 54.
“My mom didn’t want us to play football,” John Dorr explained. “She thought it was too dangerous. I started playing in eighth grade. I was a little more rebellious than Jim.”
Diedrick, who is retired and living in San Diego, was saddened to hear of Dorr’s passing. He recalled when Dorr talked to him about playing.
“He approached me in the spring and said he was thinking about playing,” Diedrick said. “I told him ‘don’t be pulling my leg unless you’re serious.’ I told him I’d welcome him with open arms. Then at the team meeting just before we started practice he showed up with a smile on his face. He didn’t do anything with us in the summer.
“You talk about a great athlete. He could throw the ball and he was more than adequate. To come out and have the record-breaking season he had is amazing.”
Diedrick will remember Dorr as more than an outstanding athlete.
“As much of a great athlete as he was, he was a great person,” Diedrick said. “You’d be very proud to have him as your son. It’s hard to lose someone like him.”
Dorr was a multiple-sport athlete. He was a standout in basketball and baseball, and played three sports at Whitworth.
The sport he ultimately would fall in love with, though, was volleyball.
He started playing volleyball in college. In recent years he and his brother teamed to win several 2-man grass tournaments in Spokane, Seattle and Portland.
It became a family sport.
“Buzzie Welch was the coach at Rogers and he tried to embarrass us in front of a pep rally one day,” John said. “We just sort of connected with volleyball. It seemed pretty easy. Jim became one of the best volleyball players in town.”
A teacher, Jim Dorr coached volleyball for eight years at Soap Lake and then became the head coach at East Valley in 1995. He stepped down after the 2010 season after 16 years.
Dorr was named the Greater Spokane League coach of the year in back-to-back seasons (2007-08).
He taught at EV through the end of the 2011-12 school year. It was then that he suffered the brain aneurysm, friend and fellow teacher Kurt Krauth said.
Krauth had the opportunity to watch the Dorr brothers play volleyball.
“They were amazing,” Krauth said.
Dorr held the GSL’s total offense record (2,087 yards) for 21 years. He still holds Rogers’ single-season record at 2,138, which includes nonleague games.
Krauth said Dorr was humble about his feats.
“We talked about his senior year at Rogers and he said ‘all I did was throw the ball up. I had good receivers,’” Krauth said.
Dorr is survived by his wife, Patti, of 32 years; two adult children, Alyssa and James; brother, John; and many other family members.