Even just a cursory scan of the Linfield football record books seems to yield one name over and over again: Gary McGarvie. The two-time All-American and three-time Northwest Conference all-star also appears a couple of times in the Wildcat track & field record books, providing further examples of the immense impact McGarvie made as a student-athlete before graduating from Linfield in 1993.
Able to pile up yards in multiple ways as both a running back and kick returner, McGarvie still owns the single-season and career all-purpose yard records at Linfield, and by impressive margins. In total, he ranks among Linfield’s all-time top 10 in 29 single-game, single-season and career statistical categories.
McGarvie totaled 1,252 all-purpose yards (333 rushing, 124 receiving and 795 on returns) during his first two years, helping the Wildcats to a 13-5 record.
In 1991, McGarvie led Linfield to a share of the Columbia Football Association Mt. Hood League title, helping the Wildcats reach the second round of the NAIA playoffs. The junior finished as the Wildcats’ second-leading scorer, totaling five touchdowns, including three on 624 rushing yards. With a career-best 393 yards gained on kick returns, he was honored as a second team NAIA All-American.
As a senior, McGarvie led the Wildcats to an outright conference title and all the way to the national championship game. He rushed for an incredible 1,322 yards, averaged nearly 102 yards rushing per game, and scored 14 touchdowns. He also caught 14 passes for 184 yards and returned 13 kicks for another 360 yards; combined with his rushing touchdowns he scored 18 times, second most on the team.
At year’s end, he was recognized as a first team All-American by Football Gazette and was an honorable mention selection on the NAIA All-America Team.
McGarvie still ranks in the top five in the Linfield football record books for 16 different statistical categories, including a program-best 28.15 yards per kick return. His four consecutive 100-yard rushing games in a single season equals another school record.
The football standout’s speed translated in a big way to the track, where he was a two-year letterwinner, a conference champion in the 200-meter dash and helped break a 16-year program record in the 4x100 relay. As a junior in 1992, he won the open 200 and was runner-up in three additional events – the open 400 plus two relays – to help Linfield win its first league championship in 12 years. Today, he ranks first in the 4x100 relay (41.32), is sixth in the 400 meters (48.35), and stands tied for seventh in the 200 meters (21.91).
Upon graduating from Linfield with a degree in mathematics, McGarvie began a career as a commercial roofer. However, he never lost his love for football, so a career change was in order. He earned a teaching certificate from Concordia University and a master’s degree in teaching and administrative certification from Washington State University-Vancouver.
Coaching-wise, he assumed duties of the football program at Fort Vancouver, taking what was once a 0-9 team to the playoffs two consecutive seasons. He is currently the dean of students at Union High School, where he also helps coach the Titan football team.
McGarvie and his wife, Stephanie, live in Washougal, Wash., with their son, Jace.