HERMAN BRIX – Track
Easily identifiable in a couple of eras, he was a brilliant football tackle at the University of Washington, then captured a Silver Medal as a shotputter in the 1928 Olympic Games and thereafter became a matinee idol as a movie actor using the name of Bruce Bennett. He acted in 113 films.
Born in Tacoma in 1906, Brix graduated from Stadium High. In his first toss of the shot put at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, he broke the world record. His U.S. teammate John Kuck edged him for the gold medal. Brix won four consecutive AAU shot put titles (1928-31) and the NCAA championship in 1927. His personal best shot put of 52 feet, 9 inches came in 1932 but he did not make the Olympic team that year due to a shoulder injury.
Brix died two months shy of his 101st birthday in 2007.
GIL DOBIE – Coach (Football)
Owner of an almost unbelievable success record as University of Washington football coach, where his teams won 59 games without a loss and just three ties in his nine seasons (1908-1916). During his Huskies tenure, Dobie’s teams outscored opponents 1,979 to 117. Though his UW tenure ended when he was fired due to conflict with the administration and players, Dobie was selected for the inaugural class of inductees to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. Originally from Minnesota, Dobie coached Navy, Cornell and Boston College after Washington.
MEL HEIN – Football
One of Washington State University’s all-time grid greats, he picked up many distinctions during his lengthy professional career, among them his selection as the standout center in the National Football League’s history. He was one of two centers on the NFL 75th Anniversary team. In 2010, the NFL Network ranked Hein 96th on the list of the 100 greatest football players ever. In addition to being the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1938, he was chosen to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1954) and the College Football Hall of Fame (1963).
Hein played 15 seasons for the New York Giants. He was named first-team All-NFL center eight straight years from 1933 through 1940. He also earned second-team All-NFL recognition five other times.
At WSU, Hein was first-team all-Pacific Coast Conference and Associated Press All-American, leading the Cougars to the 1930 Rose Bowl and an undefeated season. Hein attended Burlington High School in Whatcom County. He was a three-year member of the WSU basketball team and also ran track as a freshman.
FREDDIE STEELE – Boxing
The Tacoma Wonder Boy enjoyed a meteoric rise to the National Boxing Association middleweight championship of the world, by taking a decision over Babe Risko in a Seattle scrap July 11, 1936. Freddie defended the title against Risko and in several other fights but in 1938 lost the crown when he suffered a first-round knockout to Al Hostak.
Steele’s final record included 125 wins (60 KOs), 5 losses, 11 draws and one no contest. He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame (1999). After boxing, he appeared in many moves until the 1950s when we returned to Washington, opening a restaurant in Westport. He died August 22, 1984.