George Yarno, the Washington State defensive lineman and coach, passed away on Monday at the age of 58. Yarno fought stage 4 stomach cancer for 3 years.
After playing under four different head coaches -- Jim Sweeney, Jackie Sherrill, Warren Powers, and Jim Walden from 1975-1978 -- Yarno went undrafted but joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1979. Although playing as a nose guard for the Cougs, he switched sides of the ball and started as an offensive lineman in the NFL.
Yarno played for Tampa Bay for four years then joined the Denver Gold of the USFL for a season before returning to Tampa Bay until 1987. After the return to Tampa Bay he then played for the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Oilers for a season each.
In 1991 he joined the Washington State coaching staff as an offensive line coach under Mike Price until 1994. The Idaho Vandals hired head coach Chris Tormey in 1995 and Yarno couldn't turn down the opportunity to join their team as an offensive coordinator.
After 3 years in Idaho, he joined the University of Houston as the assistant head coach for two years then joined the Arizona State coaching staff as an offensive line coach for a year then spent two years at LSU under Nick Saban as their offensive line coach. Yarno then joined first-year head coach Bill Doba's staff in Pullman and remained there until Doba was dismissed in 2007.
After spending 6 more years at WSU he then joined the Buccaneers as the assistant offensive line coach for a year before joining the Detroit Lions staff until 2012 when he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars staff before being released in 2014.
Former Cougar players Alex Brink, Hamza Abdullah and Brandon Gibson tweeted out their condolences on Monday:
George Yarno was a mountain of a man who coached hard and cared deeply about his players. Saddened to hear of his passing. RIP Coach..— Alex Brink (@AlexBrink10) August 9, 2016
Send prayers up for former NFL Player, NFL Coach and WSU Coug Coach George Yarno. He passed away today. God bless his family.— Hamza Abdullah (@HamzaAbdullah21) August 9, 2016
Coach yarno ... You fought a good fight. One of the most intense & passionate coaches I've met. You will b missed . . . RIP #GoCougs— Brandon Lewis Gibson (@Bgibson04) August 9, 2016
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