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John Andrew Cherberg (October 17, 1910 – April 8, 1992) was an American football coach, teacher, television executive, and politician.[1] He served as the head coach at the University of Washington from 1953 to 1955, compiling a record of 10–18–2. Cherberg played college football at Washington. He served as the 13th Lieutenant Governor of Washington from 1957 to 1989, which is longer than any other lieutenant governor in the state's history.

John Cherberg
Lieutenant Governor Cherberg, 1969.jpg
13th Lieutenant Governor of Washington
In office
January 14, 1957 – January 11, 1989
GovernorAlbert Rosellini
Daniel J. Evans
Dixy Lee Ray
John Spellman
Booth Gardner
Preceded byEmmett T. Anderson
Succeeded byJoel Pritchard
Personal details
Born(1910-10-17)October 17, 1910
Pensacola, Florida, U.S.
DiedApril 8, 1992(1992-04-08) (aged 81)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Resting placeCalvary Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Washington, Seattle (BA)
John Cherberg
John Cherberg.jpg
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1933–1937Cleveland HS (WA)
1938–1945Queen Anne HS (WA)
1946–1947Washington (backfield)
1948–1952Washington (freshmen)
Head coaching record
Overall10–18–2 (college)


Early life and careerEdit

Born in Pensacola, Florida, Cherberg was the youngest of twelve children from a butcher father who emigrated from Europe.[2][3] In 1919, his family moved to Seattle, Washington.[2] He played football at Queen Anne High School before graduating in 1929.[4] He attended the University of Washington (UW) and played halfback on the football team.[2] Cherberg graduated in 1933 with a degree in economics.[5] After graduation, he taught classes and coached football at Cleveland and Queen Anne high schools in Seattle, where he led both schools to state football championships.[6]

He joined the UW football staff in 1946.[5] The three seasons he served as head coach of the UW football team were controversial. His record of 10 wins, 18 losses, and 2 ties was identified as the second worst in Seattle's history in a 2006 article by Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Jim Moore.[7] The team was involved in a payoff scandal that led to NCAA sanctions for the school and the firing of Cherberg in February, 1956.[8]

Political careerEdit

In June, 1956 Cherberg announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.[9] Capitalizing on name recognition from his football career and the statewide contacts he'd developed as the head of the state's association of high school football coaches, he won the Democratic primary by defeating Howard S. Bargreen,[10] and the general election by defeating Republican Don McDermott.[11]

Cherberg was inaugurated as Washington's lieutenant governor on January 16, 1957, under fellow Democrat Albert D. Rosellini. For his first 15 years in office, he also worked as an account executive at Seattle-area TV station KIRO to supplement his then-low lieutenant governor salary.[3]

Cherberg ran for Mayor of Seattle in 1964, but was defeated by Republican councilman Dorm Braman by 95,699 votes to his 83,205.[12] Cherberg's platform included support for fair housing.[13] Years later, both he and Braman testified for the prosecution regarding the mayoral race and money from Seattle police officials and King County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Carroll, who were alleged to have been tolerating police corruption. (The case was later dismissed.)[14][15]

Following his defeat in the mayoral campaign, he once again ran for lieutenant governor. He served continuously under Republican Governor Daniel J. Evans (1965–1977), Democrat Dixy Lee Ray (1977–1981), Republican John D. Spellman (1981–1985), and for the first term of Democrat Booth Gardner (1985–1989). In his last race, he won comfortably with 63% of the vote.[3] Cherberg stepped down in the 1988 race having served as lieutenant governor for nearly one third of Washington state's history at the time; at his death, he was the longest serving lieutenant governor in United States history.[6]


Cherberg lived in Seattle until his death from pneumonia at age 81 in 1992.[16] He was interred at Calvary Cemetery,[6] about a mile (1.6 km) northeast of the University of Washington campus. The John A. Cherberg Building, which houses Washington State Senate offices at the State Capitol campus, was renamed in his honor.[2]

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Washington Huskies (Pacific Coast Conference) (1953–1955)
1953 Washington 3–6–1 2–4–1 7th
1954 Washington 2–8 1–6 T–9th
1955 Washington 5–4–1 4–3–1 5th
Washington: 10–18–2 7–13–2
Total: 10–18–2


  1. ^ "John Cherberg". History of the State Legislature. Washington State Legislature. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Veteran leader dies". The Daily Record (Ellensburg, Washington). AP. April 9, 1992. p. 22.
  3. ^ a b c Hillinger, Charles (January 3, 1988). "The Dean of America's Lt. Governors". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Hennes, John (February 2000). "Five Grizzlies Make UW Top 100" (PDF). The KUAY. p. 9.
  5. ^ a b "John Cherberg". CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "John Andrew Cherberg". HistoryMakers. Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  7. ^ Moore, Jim (December 27, 2006). "Go 2 Guy: Worst coaches in Seattle history". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  8. ^ "Darrell Royal, Former Husky Coach (1924-12)". November 7, 2012.
  9. ^ "Former Washington Coach a Politician". The Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, MS. Associated Press. June 29, 1956. p. 32 – via
  10. ^ "Results of balloting in Tuesday's Primary". The Daily Chronicle. Centralia, WA. September 12, 1956. p. 12 – via
  11. ^ "State's Voters Cut Sharply Across Party Lines". The Daily Chronicle. Centralia, WA. Associated Press. November 7, 1956. p. 1 – via
  12. ^ "General and Special Elections: Results for Elected Officials". Seattle Office of the City Clerk. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  13. ^ "The Seattle Open Housing Campaign, 1959-1968 - Timeline". Seattle Office of the City Clerk. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  14. ^ "Seattle Trial Dismissal Bid Unsuccessful". Spokane Daily Chronicle. AP. May 1, 1973.
  15. ^ Withers, Bud; Brunner, Jim (June 25, 2003). "Charles Carroll, 1906 - 2003: Legendary Husky, veteran prosecutor". The Seattle Times.
  16. ^ "John Cherberg, Washington State Official, 81". The New York Times. April 10, 1992.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Emmett T. Anderson
Lieutenant Governor of Washington
Succeeded by
Joel Pritchard