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Former Washington State, Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich dies at 85

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 30, 2019

Univ. of Miami Athletic Director Sam Jankovich, right, tells reporters the Hurricanes have joined the Big East Conference, Thursday, Oct. 10, 1990, Coral Gables, Fla. (Doug Jennings / ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Univ. of Miami Athletic Director Sam Jankovich, right, tells reporters the Hurricanes have joined the Big East Conference, Thursday, Oct. 10, 1990, Coral Gables, Fla. (Doug Jennings / ASSOCIATED PRESS)
From news services

PULLMAN – Former Washington State Director of Athletics Sam Jankovich died Wednesday morning at the age of 85.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Sam’s family at this time,” said Washington State athletic director Pat Chun in a university release. “Sam was one of the great administrators in college athletics history. He served WSU with tremendous distinction, as a football coach, administrator, and eventually as athletic director from 1976-83. His vision surrounding the football program, enlarging Martin Stadium and making conference opponents play in Pullman, was crucial to the program’s future success and kept WSU relevant in the then- Pac-10 Conference. His impact at WSU is still felt today.”

Jankovich began his tenure at Washington State in 1968 as an assistant on Jim Sweeney’s football staff. After four seasons, he moved into administration, serving as an assistant to Athletic Director Ray Nagel from 1972-76. In that role he oversaw the Cougar Club, now known as the Cougar Athletic Fund, and doubled the organization’s membership and tripled fundraising dollars.

In 1976, he replaced Nagel as WSU’s director of athletics, a position he held for the next seven years.

Jankovich was inducted into the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.

In 1983, Jankovich was named athletic director at Miami. He later served as the general manager of the NFL’s New England Patriots.

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