Doug Long, one of the finest football players in Whitworth University history and the last Pirate to play a regular season game in the National Football League, passed away late last week after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
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 caught 132 passes for 2,171 yards during his career at Whitworth, earning First Team NAIA All-America honors as a junior and Second Team honors as a senior. After his final season at Whitworth Long became the first Pirate ever invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game.
"Doug Long was a competitor," said Steve Wilson, a former teammate and NFL game official. "He gave everything on every play every time. I am honored to have shared the field with him for four years. He was able to blend his deep desire for victory with a sense of fun and true enjoyment of the game."
Long helped lead Whitworth to a share of the Northwest Conference football championship in 1976.
Following graduation he was signed as a free agent by the Seattle Seahawks and played two seasons in the NFL as a defensive back and special teams player in 1977 and 1978. He was given the game ball for his efforts during Seattle's 27-7 win over the Oakland Raiders on October 22, 1978.
Following his playing career, Long became active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Pro Athletes' Outreach.
"Doug was a man of great faith," Wilson said. "He loved the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul and strength."