Jeff McQuarrie wants to change that.
The CEO of McQuarrie Creative, an Olympia-based marketing and video production firm, is producing and directing a documentary on Babe Hollingbery and Cougar football, unpacking that glorious crimson and gray box from the attic and transferring its contents onto video.
"I want the younger generations to know who Babe Hollingbery is," McQuarrie told Cougfan.com. "Because in many ways we are products of those old Cougars who made a difference. Most younger alums don't know much, if anything, about Babe."
And to whet the appetites of younger viewers, the documentary will go beyond the Hollingbery era and include generous servings of other historical Cougar football moments. The filmmaker estimates 40 percent of the film will focus on Babe, 55 percent on Cougar football history, and five percent will examine that unique love affair WSU alums have with their alma mater.
McQuarrie has already shot hours of film he must somehow edit down to 90 or 120 minutes. Footage that includes interviews with several of Hollingbery's players—Rod Giske, Earl Brenneis, "Black Tom" Parry, and George Roswell—and dozens of notable personalities of the Cougar Nation, such as Keith Jackson, John Bohler (son of Doc), Jack Thompson, Keith Lincoln, Dick Fry, Bobo Brayton, Timm Rosenbach, Ammon McWashington, and Bill Doba. Even some non-Cougs -- like ABC's college football commentator Bob Griese--who've had ringside seats to some great Cougar moments over the years get some camera time.
Coach Babe Hollingbery and Bill Tonkin, as portrayed by Curt Vaniman and J.C. Sherritt (McQuarrie)
In order to stay true to his artistic vision and to stay on his own production timeline, McQuarrie is self-financing the project ("I'm fortunate to have a cool wife," he said), which he hopes to have wrapped up early this fall. At that time, the yet-to-be-titled video will go on sale, possibly in conjunction with local airings on PBS affiliates throughout the state.
As with any project involving the history of Cougar athletics, McQuarrie cites Fry—the former Cougar sports information director—and his book, The Crimson and the Gray, as being an incredibly valuable research tool. He has interviewed Fry several times for the film and references his book constantly.
"Dick Fry and his wonderful book are by far the best resources anyone in my position could have," he said.
TO SAY MCQUARRIE is on a mission when it comes to reminding the Cougar Nation of Babe Hollingbery is an understatement. "Quest" would be a better word.
Bill Tonkin, as portrayed by J.C. Sherritt (McQuarrie)
"I think Babe is the greatest football coach that WSU has ever had," he said. "He did not lose a home game until nearly mid-way through his tenth season at WSC. And this is made even more remarkable by the fact that he didn't inherit a strong program. When he took over in 1926 they had only won six games in the previous three years."
Hollingbery compiled a 93-53-14 record in 17 years at the Cougar helm, posting a losing record in just two of those seasons.
Football was suspended at Washington State during World War II. Following the war, Hollingbery and college administrators couldn't come to terms over his salary and, just like that, the greatest coach in Cougar football history and the college he loved unceremoniously parted ways. His dignified departure was another facet of Hollingbery's life that endeared the coach to McQuarrie.
George Hollingbery (Annie Klein photo)
McQuarrie's interest in the legendary coach intensified further upon a chance meeting with Babe's grandson, George Hollingbery. Fate seemed to be steering his film project more and more toward Babe, as his developing friendship with the Hollingberys opened his eyes further to the legend of Babe. Better still, George enthusiastically accepted when McQuarrie asked him to narrate the film.
In all fairness, saying Hollingbery and his achievements have been reduced to "historical footnotes," is an overstatement. After all, the man has been inducted into several halls of fame, including the College Football Hall of Fame—one of just four Cougars to be so honored. In addition an East-West Shrine game annual award is named for him, as is the WSU field house (although naming the stadium in his honor would seem more fitting). Even our own annual awards of excellence at CF.C have been dubbed "The Hollingberys."
Filmmaker Jeff McQuarrie (Annie Klein photo)