Members of the Gordon community discuss the origins of the “Nubby Burger,” a Gordon classic:
Marv Wilson: Cliff “Nubby” McCrath was the first varsity soccer coach at Gordon College back in the early to mid 60s. In the mid 50s Nubby had been an All American soccer player at Wheaton College. I played varsity soccer in the backfield with him at Wheaton for a couple years—he played center halfback and was all over the field. During this time at Wheaton, “Nubbs” would often hold up his hand in the air, emphasizing the two or three fingers that were missing from one hand. Nubby was a great comedian and never let the loss of fingers keep him from competing. He never hid his “nubs” but often proudly displayed them and waved them around to opponents and even referees. When “Nubby” was a kid (before he went off to Wheaton), apparently a dynamite cap went off in his hand. That, as I recall, is how he lost his fingers.
"Nubby": How did I know that what looked like a spent cartridge from a miniature howitzer was a dynamite cap that, held in one hand and lighted with a stolen match in the other, would take three nimble digits with it and lead to the creation of Uncle Nubby, The Nub, The Rubber Nubber, et al? [from interview at http://www.soccersaves.org/foundersspeak.asp; thanks to Ken Brown for pointing us to this website!]
Marv: He was a very intensive player and charismatic person, popular as a coach with his players and fans. Thus, when the Gordon snack shop in Lane first opened in 1963, Nubby was then soccer coach on campus. I think they (either the people at the snack bar, his players or fans) created a special burger to honor Nubby.
Sybil Coleman: I was a student at Gordon when the “Nubby Burger” came into existence (around 1963). Nubby—varsity soccer coach, RD and Divinity School student—created a burger that was then sold in the snack shop, which was located where Chester’s Place is now.
David Rox: Nubby required his players to eat a high protein burger with a fried egg on it. They are good!
Marv: After Nubby left Gordon he became over several decades a highly decorated Division II soccer coach at Seattle Pacific University. For the past three or four years he has been out of Seattle Pacific.
Jon Tymann: Nubby is also second in the NCAA for most lifetime wins by a soccer coach.
Russ Bishop: Extrovert of the highest order, he was a great soccer player (Wheaton) and coach (Seattle Pacific) and is in the Soccer Hall of Fame. He's also certifiably insane!
PHOTOS: From top: Cliff McCrath in 2009 (http://washington.bestsoccerever.com/2009/Dec09/mccrath.html); the Gordon snack shop circa 1977 (Hypernikon).