Don R. Sprinkle
June 16, 1916 - August 9,
Don was a varsity fullback
for the Queen Anne High Grizzlies in 1931, 1932 & 1934.
He dropped out of high school during the 1933-34 year in
order to work full time and help increase the family income
during the depression. He also delivered papers for
the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer to help
make ends meet. Suffering a knee injury in 1934, Don
would be hampered by knee injuries throughout his playing
career. These same knee injuries would make him
unacceptable to the armed forces during World War II.
In 1935, through the efforts
of Dr. Harry Moore, Don received a football scholarship to
the University of Oregon where he played football on the
Freshman team, but was forced to quit in order to return
home and work. Being extremely devoted to his family,
Don later quit the University of Puget Sound in order to
earn an income for his struggling family. While
working for the Seattle Gas Company in the late 1930's, Don
played semi-pro ball for the Renton Rams (1938-1940) of the
As a volunteer coach in 1940,
Sprinkle began with the Queen Anne Frosh-Soph team and
continued on through 1942. That would be the same year
Don began as a reserve deputy with the King County
Sherriff's Department. While on his honeymoon with new
wife Audrey (VandeKant) Don was informed he would become a
regular deputy. He would eventually join the Seattle
Police Department where he served until 1955.
As a coach, Don's Queen Anne
Boys Club Football Team won 3 championship, 1
co-championship, and finished 2nd in 1946 during a five year
span from 1944 - 1948.
In 1948 he took over head
coaching duties of the Rainier Beach Athletic Club Ramblers.
During the 1948 season he held practices for Queen Anne on
Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, while Rainier Beach
practices would be held on Tuesday and Thursday nights and
Saturday mornings. On Sunday was game day, where he
coached Queen Anne during the 1st half, then rushed to the
kickoff of the Rambler game several miles away.
The Don R. Sprinkle Football
Scholarship was established by January 1964 and in February
Cleveland High School's 3-sport athlete Jerry Bailey became
the first recipient of the scholarship.
In 1950 the Rainier Beach
Athletic Club became the Seattle Ramblers and embarked on a
historic run through semi-professional history accumulating
a 108-46-3 record including 4 undefeated seasons and 2
league championships. The team would play the 1963 and
1964 seasons without their beloved coach, but missing Don
and the emergence of the Edmonds Warriors who took many
former Rambler players, the team just couldn't compete in
the changing semi-pro scene and the final game would be
played at Portland. The Ramblers lost their final game
of a 2-9 season and drifted off into history.
In 1952 Don was voted the
Charles E. Sullivan Award by the Puget Sound Sports Writers
and Sportscasters Association for distinguished service to
Northwest athletics over a period of years.
From 1955 until January 1963,
Don was the Undersheriff of King County. He graduated
from the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA in 1956 and was elected
Sheriff of King County in 1962, serving from January 1963
until his untimely death in August of 1963. He was 47.
Don Sprinkle was as dedicated
to athletics as they come. Family, Community and
Football, Coach Sprinkle touched innumerable lives during
his short life.
"Take A Lap" - Published 1989; Author Don E. Ridge