Binger's Memory Lights The Field

June 7, 2010

He'd been a wide receiver for Fresno State, a marine pilot, a voracious reader and theater lover who ended his career as the top air-traffic controller in the Northwest. But for the UW's women's softball team, the late Marlin Binger remains unforgettable for one thing.

'Since the inception of Husky softball, Marlin was our number one fan,' said UW softball coach Heather Tarr. 'It was unfortunate that Marlin didn't get to see us win our first national championship last year--but we know he was with us every step of the way.'

Marlin, also a longtime Tyee club member and football supporter, knew the stats, the history, the personality and the parents of every young woman who had ever been on the team. He attended almost every game, including away games, and often attended practices, too. In fact, the team was so inspired by Marlin--who was also their first season ticket holder, holding seats one and two--that after their historic win, they chanted his name on the bus ride home.

'He was a grandfather figure to a lot of the girls. He was just a very warm, passionate, honest, humble man,' said former player Callie Bergen. 'He gave so much of himself to the team and the UW in general--he bled purple and gold. I truly believe he had something to do with the girls winning the national championship. I'm pretty sure he was there watching from above.'

Today, when the Huskies play a night game, the field is illuminated by lights made possible by a bequest in Marlin's will--one of many gifts he made to the team. Their world championship trophy rests in the boardroom that bears his name.

'He was truly an inspiration to all of us,' Bergen said. 'I think he'll always be remembered in the softball family as our wonderful grandpa figure who loved life and loved the team.'

The preceding story was provided by The University of Washington Foundation. For more information, click here.

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