From the Collection of Will Lomen
In 1940, Gil Dobie (1908-1916, 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 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 the trip, Dobie met
with UW head coach Jim Phelan and toured the campus, as well as Husky
Will Lomen, a grandson of Coyle, commemorates this
reunion with an exact copy of the thank-you letter written by Dobie to
his grandfather and an old photo taken at the get-together.
Will says it all.
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
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." (e-mail to the author from Will Lomen.)
(Also, see the
adventures of Wee Coyle).
Left to right: Maxwell Eakins, Gilmour Dobie, Wee Coyle
William (Wee) Coyle quarterbacked Washington in the
1908-1911 seasons, becoming the first quarterback -- and maybe 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
After Gill Dobie prematurely resigned his job at UW in 1915, Coyle, who
coached Gonzaga at the time, applied for the head coaching job at his
alma mater. Later, Dobie changed his mind and went on to coach the 1916
season at Washington. Incidentally, Dobie's 1915 team beat Coyle's
Gonzaga-led team 21-7.
In September of 1917, Coyle, 29, graduated from officer’s training camp
at the Presidio in San Francisco, California. He was awarded the
Distinguished Service Cross on July 9, 1918, for "extraordinary heroism"
in action near Cheppy, France.
He served as Lieutenant Governor of Washington State from 1921-1925. As
a Seattle resident, he served for 25 years as the manager of the Seattle
Dobie's record at Washington is unsurpassed in
college football. See "A statue for Gil Dobie."