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Phil Sarboe

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Phil Sarboe

Phil Sarboe
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1911-08-22)August 22, 1911
Fairbanks, Alaska
Died November 19, 1985(1985-11-19) (aged 74)
Spokane, Washington
Alma mater Washington State, 1934
Playing career
Washington State
Boston Redskins (NFL)
Chicago Cardinals (NFL)
Brooklyn Dodgers (NFL)
Position(s) Defensive back
Running back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Clarkston HS (WA)
Aberdeen HS (WA)
Central Washington
Lincoln HS (WA)
Washington State
North Central HS (WA)
Humboldt State
Head coaching record
Overall 131–75–11 (.629)
College Football Data Warehouse

Phillip John Sarboe (August 22, 1911 – November 19, 1985) was an American football player and coach.[1] He was the head coach for five seasons at Washington State College in the late 1940s, and later for over a decade at Humboldt State College.

Early years

Born in Fairbanks, Alaska, Sarboe graduated from Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, and was a three-sport athlete in the Pacific Coast Conference at Washington State College in Pullman. On a basketball scholarship, he also played shortstop in baseball and had his greatest success in football, most notably as a fullback. He played in the East–West Shrine Game in January 1934.[1] Although he had minor league offers in baseball, he chose to play professional football.

Pro career

Sarboe played three seasons in the National Football League, starting with Boston Redskins in 1934. Listed at 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) and 167 lb (76 kg), he was traded that season to the Chicago Cardinals, and finished his pro career in 1936 with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He completed only 42.3 percent of his passes for just 1,133 yards, had a 4–26 career touchdown to interception ratio, and a career passer rating of 27.9.


Sarboe began his coaching career in 1937 in southeastern Washington at Clarkston High School,[2][3] then moved west to Aberdeen in 1939.[1] In 1941 and 1942, he coached football at Central Washington College of Education in Ellensburg,[4] compiling a 6–6–3 record. The 1942 team was 4–1–1 in the Washington Intercollegiate Conference and won the season title.[5]

The program was suspended after the 1942 season due to World War II, and Sarboe coached in Tacoma at Lincoln High School, his alma mater.[6] He had planned to return to Ellensburg to coach the high school team in 1945 and then return to Central Washington when it resumed football in 1946.[7]

Babe Hollingbery, the Cougars' head coach since 1926, was not brought back in 1945 and Sarboe was hired as head coach of the Cougars in late May,[6][8] the first alumnus to head the football program. In his first season in Pullman in 1945, Washington State posted a 6–2–1 record, but struggled afterward and Sarboe had a 17–26–3 (.402) record in five seasons.

Sarboe coached a season at North Central High School in Spokane in 1950,[1] then went to Humboldt State College[9] in Arcata, California, where he compiled a record of 104–37–5 (.729) in fifteen seasons. In 1966, he left to coach for a season at Hawaii and posted a 4–6 record. Sarboe then returned to northwest California and became a coach and athletic director at the College of the Redwoods, a junior college in Eureka, and retired in 1977.[10]


Sarboe died of cancer in 1985 at age 73 in Spokane.[1]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Central Washington Wildcats (Washington Intercollegiate Conference) (1941–1942)
1941 Central Washington 1-5-1 0-5-1 5th
1942 Central Washington 5-1-2 4-1-1 1st
Central Washington: 6-6-3 4-6-2
Washington State Cougars (Pacific Coast Conference) (1945–1949)
1945 Washington State 6–2–1 6–2–1 2nd
1946 Washington State 1–6–1 1–5–1 8th
1947 Washington State 3–7 2–5 T–7th
1948 Washington State 4–5–1 4–3–1 4th
1949 Washington State 3–6 2–6 8th
Washington State: 17–26–3 15–21–3
Humboldt State Lumberjacks (Far Western Conference) (1951–1965)
1951 Humboldt State 4-3-1
1952 Humboldt State 7-1 3-0 1st
1953 Humboldt State 6-2 1-1 2nd
1954 Humboldt State 5-5 3-2 3rd
1955 Humboldt State 7-3-1 2-2-1 4th
1956 Humboldt State 9-2 4-1 1st (T)
1957 Humboldt State 4-6 3-2 3rd
1958 Humboldt State 7-2-1 3-2 2nd (T)
1959 Humboldt State 9-1 4-1 2nd
1960 Humboldt State 11-1 5-0 1st L 14-15 NAIA Division I Championship
1961 Humboldt State 8-2 4-1 1st (T)
1962 Humboldt State 7-2 3-2 2nd
1963 Humboldt State 6-1-2 3-1-1 1st (T)
1964 Humboldt State 8-2 4-1 2nd
1965 Humboldt State 6-4 2-3 4th
Humboldt State: 104-37-5
Hawaii Rainbows (Independent) (1966)
1966 Hawaii 4–6
Hawaii: 4–6
Total: 131-75-11


  1. ^ a b c d e "Coach Phil Sarboe dies". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. November 20, 1985. p. C2. 
  2. ^ "Bantams weakened for Pomeroy game". Lewiston Morning Tribune. October 1, 1937. p. 9. 
  3. ^ "Bantams sink Pirates, 19-0". Lewiston Morning Tribune. October 1, 1938. p. 9. 
  4. ^ "Sarboe inherits only 8 vets in first year here". September 20, 1941. p. 6. 
  5. ^ "Rangers defeat Eastern, take second place". Ellensburg Daily Record. November 16, 1942. p. 6. 
  6. ^ a b Johnson, Bob (May 28, 1945). "State College alumni bitter about "sacking" of Hollingbery". Spokane Daily Chronicle. p. 9. 
  7. ^ "Sarboe goes to W.S.C.; schools here seek coach". Ellensburg Daily Record. May 28, 1945. p. 6. 
  8. ^ "Sarboe takes over grid post". Spokesman-Review. (photo). May 30, 1945. p. 10. 
  9. ^ "Ex-Cougar coach mighty popular". Spokane Daily Chronicle. UPI. November 18, 1960. p. 13. 
  10. ^ "Athletic Hall of Fame". College of the Redwoods. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 

External links

  • Washington State University Athletics Hall of Fame
  • Humboldt State Lumberjacks football: 2014 media guide
  • Career statistics and player information from • Pro-Football-Reference •
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