By Derek Johnson
(This was originally published in the Woodinville Weekly)
Anyone driving down Bothell Way knows the Brooks Biddle auto dealership. Not everyone knows that back in the 1940s, Brooks Biddle was a star halfback for the Washington Huskies. He and his teammates ran out of the famous Husky Stadium tunnel, back when there were no upper decks and seating capacity was 30,000.
Last fall, Biddle’s grandson Ian become a Washington Husky. He too ran out of that same tunnel into a stadium that now holds 70,000.
“That was something I had always looked forward to,” Ian Biddle said. “That first time was a surreal experience.
"We’re running through this liquid nitrogen, the siren goes off, the crowd is cheering. Being a part of that was cool to experience. There is something iconic about it. My parents have a picture of me in the tunnel on my dad’s back when I was like two years old.”
The younger Biddle, who played for the Woodinville Falcons from 2011-13, comes from a family rich in Husky heritage.
“My grandparents, my dad, both my sisters and an aunt and uncle, all these people have gone to Washington,” Biddle said. “It’s a safe assumption that we’ve been going to Husky football games continuously since the 1940s. My dad grew up following the Huskies. I’ve seen pictures of my grandparents dressed up to the nines going to the games.
"Back then people got dressed up, it was a real event. Coats, slacks and top hats. You look at that and go, ‘Wow, I just go to the games in sweatpants and bundled up!’ But they got dressed like they were going to a fancy dinner.”
Unlike his grandpa, who began his UW career under coach Ralph “Pest” Welch, the younger Biddle plays for Chris Petersen.
“When Coach Petersen came in, his thing is do the right thing,” Biddle said. “He says if you do the right thing then there won’t be any issues. He doesn’t put on a façade. He is exactly who you think he is. He is the nicest guy in the world. You’ll never hear him swear, you’ll never hear him cuss guys out. Nobody’s perfect, but he’s striving to be that.
He’s trying to improve himself just as much as he’s trying to improve the kids around him.”
Biddle spent last season as a scout team cornerback and did not see the field in a live game.
“If I become a fluke, the one-in-a-million fluke walk-on who actually becomes a starter, I would be happy and take it in stride,” he said. “Or if I get to see special teams, and get in on one punt return or kickoff, I would be happy at the end of the day. Obviously I’m going to work and strive for playing time.
“But I’ve learned so much in terms of technique and schemes,” he said. “Even right now, I am miles ahead in terms of being able to coach. I have learned so much from Coach Pete and Coach [Jimmy] Lake, my position coach. I’m a student of learning the game, and somewhere down the road I would like to coach on some level.”
Brooks Biddle, who passed away in 1999, never got a chance to see Ian in a Husky uniform.
“People who knew him say, ‘Your grandpa would be so proud of you,’” Biddle said. “But if he was in the stands, he probably wouldn’t have much to say. He would just get choked up followed by a couple of his iconic Husky barks.”