PREP FOCUS: Longtime coach Ed McQuary publishes book about career
Anyone who lives 60 or 70 or 80 years winds up with more than a few stories to tell.
Not everyone publishes those stories in a book, though, which is exactly what Forest Grove native Ed McQuary did this fall.
After spending nearly 50 years coaching in the Oregon high school ranks, McQuary published a book titled 100 Yards of Memories: Memorable Players and People of an Old Coach in October.
The volume details a number of individuals players, fellow coaches and even his wife of more than 50 years, Peggy events and experiences that stand out to McQuary after a lifetime of playing and coaching on the gridiron.
About 20 of those tales, stories that are easy to read and digest a few at a time, deal with individuals from Forest Grove and Banks who crossed paths with McQuary.
Now 73 and a retired history teacher and school counselor, McQuary coached at St. Helens, Banks, Lakeridge and Riverdale after graduating from and playing football at both Forest Grove High and Pacific University.
A lot of the kids in here never played a down after high school, McQuary said about those who made it into the book. A lot of kids in here never started in high school, but they were very special in their own way.
While McQuary is an educator by trade, he also is also a storyteller with previous writing experience, having written a fishing column in a Portland-area weekly newspaper for 10 years. That experience served him well in writing his book.
Everything is pretty much in column length, because I try to put as much in as few words as possible, said McQuary, a 1958 Forest Grove graduate, of the roughly five dozen vignettes that comprise 100 Yards of Memories.
My writing style is really kind of down-home takes," he said. "People like it for some reason.
The beginning of the book came about when McQuary started writing some of his remembrances to share with his players whose parents would join them to listen in. He also shared a number of stories while working as a substitute teacher at Sherwood High, where his charges would beg McQuary to tell them stories.
So I just kept writing these, and I thought, Why not put them in a book? said McQuary, a father of two and grandfather of three.
After about four years of writing, the result is 100 Yards of Memories, a 139-page paperback published by Denver-based Outskirts Press. The book is available on Kindle and on amazon.com, as well as at Powells and Barnes and Noble.
McQuarys stories are sweet, poignant and funny. For example, he recalls the guiding influence former Forest Grove coach Art Brachmann exerted on him when he played on Brachmanns junior varsity squad, the impact of an elderly equipment manager early on during his tenure at Banks, and his perhaps too-close-for-comfort relationship with a pig due to a pep assembly promise and a successful season.
While 100 Yards of Memories is McQuarys first book, it may not be the last that he authors. He has been working for years on a book about growing up in Forest Grove during the middle of the 20th century, and he has another two dozen or so stories written that could go into a companion volume to 100 Yards of Memories.
Lately, though, he has been busy on the marketing side of book publishing, securing and doing interviews with various media outlets and even doing a book signing to spread the word about his book.
He looks forward, in particular, to sharing his writing with those living where he got his start.
Im really excited for the people in my area to read the book, McQuary said, because itll bring back great memories.