BYU has thousands of passionate fans, but when it comes to showing Cougar pride, few do it as enthusiastically as Gary A. Drew (BS ’79), the Colorado Springs, Colo., chapter chair and a die-hard alumnus.
Upon entering his home, little evidence exists that he has a zeal for BYU blue and white. With a marlin mounted on the wall and palm trees decked in multi-colored lights, it’s a tribute to the beach. Yet his office—dubbed “the shrine” by his wife, Sherry—is tastefully crammed with BYU memorabilia Drew has been collecting since his undergraduate days in the mid-’70s.
The glass doors to his office are decorated modestly, with two Cougar decals and the wording “Brigham Young University,” but when the doors swing open they reveal everything from a large Y flag, football helmets, and a Cougar Club plaque to a BYU wind sock, a BYU clock, and the university’s four-volume history.
“I just love BYU,” he says. “I visited campus after many years and got emotional just standing near the Brigham Young statue at the administration building,” he says. “A student asked me what was wrong, and I told her to appreciate her time here, because it is too soon gone. I was overwhelmed with my feelings about this great school.”
Drew clearly has taken BYU home with him. A stuffed cougar complete with BYU collar and Cougar cap lounges atop a small leather couch. Above are signed and framed posters of All-American quarterbacks Jim McMahon (’81) and Steve Young (BA ’84). His computer screen displays a blend of BYU scenes, and a mat on his writing surface features legendary coach R. LaVell Edwards (EdD ’78). The shrine also includes BYU sports books, a framed Steve Young jersey, a framed 1984 national championship poster, a specialty football in a glass display case, a string of Y lights leading to a football-helmet lamp, and marketing materials from the “Tiesman” campaign for Ty Detmer’s (BS ’92) Heisman honor.
Although football dominates the decor, he also has other memories of BYU in his office. Drew has gathered every devotional speech from his time at BYU, and he has a Young Ambassadors record album from the year he worked on the group’s technical crew. He also has archived his application to BYU, his acceptance letter, his commencement address, and his transcripts as well as a personal letter from former BYU president Dallin H. Oaks (BA ’54).
“I found BYU challenging but wonderful,” Drew says. “I am a true Cougar and have been one throughout my life. The memorabilia and records I keep stress the importance of building strong positive memories of my BYU years. I believe they should be shared, because they set a good example and plant the seeds of aspiration in our children to seek higher education and make righteous choices.”