The Gil Dobie Recognition Ceremony
Rich Linde, 15 October 2013

A potential-student-athlete's tour of the Washington campus should first visit Gilmour Dobie, his likeness, and his meaning to the glory of Washington.


In 2002, I wrote an article, "A Plaque for Gil Dobie." It was inspired by the notion that a part of our Husky nation -- those of us who were aware of Dobie's accomplishments on the gridiron -- felt the university should venerate Dobie's legacy at Washington with a bronze plaque, one placed on the remaining portion of Denny Field located on the Washington campus.

The idea for the plaque was suggested by writer Mike Archbold, who played Gil Dobie league football when he was a youngster. Lynn Borland, who read my plaque article, took the idea to the house, first writing a biography of the coach, "Pursuit of Perfection," and then urging the university to honor the coach with a plaque.

Thanks to the considerable efforts of Borland, Dobie was finally given his long overdue recognition on Saturday, 12 October 2013. See Borland's article in the Seattle Times, "Dear Gil Dobie: A Husky coaching legend finally gets his reward."

Prior to the Oregon game on Saturday, relatives of coach Dobie's players and the grandsons of George Varnell met in the John Houston Board Room, which is located inside Husky Stadium at the west entrance by the Dawg Pack. (Photo left, Board Room, my wife and I).

The meeting was arranged by Jennifer Cohen (Sr Associate Athletic Director - Advancement). Those of us who attended the meeting celebrated coach Dobie's recognition in the Neal Dempsey Walk of Honor.  (Photo above, Will Lomen, grandson of William Jennings "Wee" Coyle and Coyle's great granddaughter, Charlotte, standing under the plaque honoring Dobie at the Neal Dempsey Walk of Honor.) (*)

Four coaches – Don James, Gil Dobie, Jim Owens and James Phelan – have plaques and their pictures on the walls lining the new, grand stairwell in the southeast corner of Husky Stadium. The new Neal Dempsey Coaches Walk of Honor has great game-day visibility for fans walking from “The Zone” fan area to the new south seating areas.

Later my wife and I, Lynn Borland and his wife Vicki, relatives of Dobie's players (Wee Coyle, Polly Grimm, Warren Grimm, Bill Grimm, Vic Morrison) and grandsons of George Varnell (former Seattle Times Sports editor and close friend of Dobie) watched the game from our complimentary seats located in the Sky Suites, which are behind the Press Box high above the gridiron. (**)

I wish to thank writer Lee Groinman for driving my wife and me from our hotel in Issaquah to the celebration and back.

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(*) Coyle was the first quarterback -- if not the only quarterback in college football -- to go unbeaten in four seasons of leadership. Note that he also lettered in baseball and track, and is now honored in the University of Washington Hall of Fame in all three sports. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on July 9, 1918, for "extraordinary heroism" in action near Cheppy, France, served as Lieutenant Governor of Washington State from 1921-1925, and managed the Seattle Civic Auditorium for 25 years.
 

(**) Dobie's career, which began like a gamma-ray burst at North Dakota State, Washington, Navy and Cornell, was ended at Boston College by the expanding universe of college football.

School

Years

W

L

T

North Dakota State

1906-07

8

0

0

Washington

1908-16

59

0

3

Navy

1917-19

18 (*)

3

0

Cornell

1920-35

82 (#)

36

7

Boston College

1936-38

16

6

5

Total

33

183 (+)

45

15

* 71 consecutive games without a defeat; lost his 2nd game at Navy
# 3 unbeaten seasons, 1921, 22, 23; first losing season in 1934
+ won 78.4% of his games; 97.6% at Washington

It took Dobie fewer games to reach 100 wins than any other coach in the history of college football. (In 1920, Cornell went 6-2-0 and, in the 1921 and 1922 seasons, it posted a 16-0 record). Table courtesy of Fox Sports.

N

Fastest Coaches to reach 100 wins

Games

1

Gil Dobie

108

2

George Woodruff

109

3

Bud Wilkinson

111

4

Fielding Yost

114

5

Knute Rockne

117

6

Urban Meyer

118

 

Richard Linde can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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