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Former Beaver Great Passes Away

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Joe Francis was one of the all-time Oregon St. greats, leading the Beavers to the 1957 Rose Bowl.
Joe Francis was one of the all-time Oregon St. greats, leading the Beavers to the 1957 Rose Bowl.
(Oregon St. photo via the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame)

Former Oregon St. great Joe Francis passed away last month, on April 13 in his home state of Hawaii, just days short of his 77th birthday.

Francis, who is a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, played for the 1955, '56, & '57 teams, and was the Beavers' MVP the latter 2 years, which included the 1957 Rose Bowl team, and also the Oregon St. squad that won the 1957 Pacific Coast Conference championship. That year, the Beavers beat #19 USC 20-0, and #15 Oregon 10-7 at Hayward Field in the Civil War, but couldn't return to the Rose Bowl due to a league rule that did not allow any team to repeat in the only bowl the conference allowed teams to appear in.

Francis finished his career at Oregon St. as the career leader in total offense, a record that stood until Terry Baker came along. The Beavers went 21-8-1 during his career, with at least a share of 2 PCC titles. That's still one of the better careers anyone has had.

Francis went on to play for both the Green Bay Packers of the NFL, and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, before returning to Corvallis in 1963 as an assistant coach for Tommy Prothro, whose' career at Oregon St. began the year Francis first played varsity. Together, they returned to the 1965 Rose Bowl.

Brad Fuqua of the Corvallis Gazette-Times has put together a lengthy historical retrospective on one of the great Beavers of all time.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com