Editor's note: Eight former BYU All-American quarterbacks — Virgil Carter, Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, Ty Detmer and Steve Sarkisian — return to Provo on Friday and Saturday for Y Quarterback Weekend, a fundraising event to endow future quarterback scholarships. The Deseret News spoke to four of the gridiron greats this week about their homecoming. Here's what they had to say.
Hall of Famer and Super Bowl MVP Young makes the trek to Happy Valley this weekend for two reasons: the business of raising money for his alma mater, and the pleasure of renewing close friendships from yesteryear.
"If you think of BYU football, you're going to think of BYU quarterbacks," Young told the Deseret News. "We have a built-in, leverage-able brand that we should all see if we can't get behind. If we're going to do something, we need to do something that makes BYU athletics better, that makes BYU football better. …
"Y Quarterback Weekend is going to be able to really help. For years we've been wanting to do something and (wondering) how to do it and just exactly how to figure it out. That's why I'm really grateful to Giff (Nielsen) for spearheading it. The associations with Jim (McMahon) and with Marc (Wilson) and Robbie (Bosco), we have always been good friends, but time and geography have made it hard for us to get consolidated. I think that this is going to allow us to build our associations, and bridges and friendship."
In 1987, Detmer left his native Texas and came to BYU with dreams of becoming a big-time college football quarterback.
"As a quarterback, you want to have that opportunity to be successful and throw the ball," Detmer said. "(BYU) had the quarterback tradition. I read the list of guys that played before me, saw all of the quarterbacks with their All-American plaques on the wall, Davey O'Brien medals and all the great things those guys had done, and it was something I wanted to go try to be a part of. It was something I dreamed about coming in."
Fast-forward 23 years.
"Now that I've been removed from it quite a bit, I'm able to kind of sit back and feel like a part of that group that's gone on there before me," he said. "It's like the dream came true."
In his capacity as director of the Varsity Club that raises money for BYU athletics, Bosco sees firsthand how scholarship endowments benefit donors and student-athletes alike.
"A lot of times you can donate money to the football program and it just gets used as (the athletic department) wants," Bosco told the Deseret News. "Sometimes people didn't really know where their money went. Now when we designate it to a certain area, whether it be scholarships or other aspects of what we're trying to raise money for, I think it gives people a feeling of knowing where their money's going and a feeling of, 'This is what it's worth: I'm helping so-and-so out on the field.' …
"It's just a matter of getting new contacts and people that enjoy being associated with student athletes. I think people always are interested in student athletes. They always want to help in that regard, just helping the kid and bettering his future."
A former NFL first-round draft pick who survived in the league for more than a decade, Wilson plans to employ a practical approach to Y Quarterback Weekend.
"It's always fun to come back to BYU," Wilson said. "I love that valley, and I love that setting. I love seeing those mountains, and seeing the stadium brings back a lot of memories.
"Another reason is seeing a lot of people that I haven't seen in a long time. I'm excited to see the quarterbacks. We've never been all together in one place before — this will be the first time. That's a fun thought for me."