Saturday, June 25, 2011

From my Grandfather Wee Coyle's Collection

In 1940, Gil Dobie the University of Washington football coach from 1908-1916 with a record of 59-0-3 met with a group of his former Washington players at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle. Making the long trip by train from Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts the event, which was organized by his players, was led by my grandfather, legendary Washington quarterback Wee Coyle (1908-1911).

The event was well-covered by both Seattle newspapers, The Seattle Times and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (namely by sportswriter Royal Brougham at the P-I). During his Seattle visit, Dobie met with UW head coach Jim Phelan and toured the campus, as well as Husky Stadium.

Recently while going through boxes of my grandfather’s memorabilia I found the original thank-you letter written by Dobie to my grandfather and an old photo taken at the reunion.

If you are looking for something that shows the affection the 'old gang' had for their coach and he for them, this is it. He (Dobie) takes a train clear across the country to see his 'boys,' and those same 'boys' have organized a reunion for their coach some twenty years after they played for him. Why? Because on those dark and stormy nights as he drove them to exhaustion on the practice field, every one of them thought about quitting, for they didn't think they could live up to his severe demands. But they didn't quit (including the ones who didn't even letter), and eventually, they found themselves, ordinary guys from various backwater cities in the northwest, with the best records of any of the teams that ever played college football. That's what instills character in a man; the point being that when you are ready to quit, for some reason there is one last thread that is holding your will together and you just won't let it break. And once you have fought off those of moments of doubt, you will fight to win, especially when you have a man like Gil Dobie driving you towards excellence.

Also, see the adventures of Wee Coyle) from Rich Linde’s website

Will Lomen

Left to right: Maxwell Eakins, Gilmour Dobie, Wee Coyle