by Jud Blakely
1967. The Giant Killers of Oregon State. Epic. Recalled so often and honored so often. You epitomized "grace under pressure." Gladiators of brute power, you were also (and no less) masters of deadly finesse and shaped by a burning drive to succeed. You were a team for the ages.
At the time, during that memorable '67 season, you became a band of brothers, which was how you scaled the heights you scaled game by game by game. In the five-plus decades since then, you've evolved into a timeless Band of Brothers who can't escape our admiration and respect.
The 13 GKs below each won significant laurels for their play. It's a simple fact that your roster was marked by exceptional talent yet each of these 13 award winners excelled within a team concept that has never waned over the years and remains no less a robust bonding force today.
This website aims to provide an accessible source for "All Things Giant Killers." We intend to create and keep alive a domain that houses as much video and written/graphics content as we can find or originate, then upload. You can help by sending us GK material that you can locate.
We see the website as a unique gift you can share with family, friends, and any others who might wish to have access to this ever-lasting part of your life. After all, 1967 was not merely a season and not merely a year, it was a period when many of you "grew up" to become the men you are.
NOTE: this website is not owned or funded or guided by OSU in any form, it's a labor of love by the team and me. The design and writing are mine and I've edited all the photos and all the videos. I maintain the site as well as update it with new content as (if) we happen to receive it.
Although I was aware of Dee's heroism as a Marine on Iwo, we never did get acquainted then (or ever). Kind of odd, too, because we had more than a little in common even if "my war" and combat were some twenty years removed from his in Word War II. Dee was a Marine; I was a Marine.
To be clear, my first glimmer of interest in the Giant Killers was a result of Dee Andros being a Marine. Sure, we may never have personally known each other but we were brothers by virtue of being in the Corps. I mean, once a Marine, always a Marine. That's a timeless truth, a unifying truth.
You were young guys striving for manhood back in 1967, which is what most young guys do. Your glowing tributes to Dee and your coaches over these years affirm how all-important a role they had during that fateful period of your lives. Just the right men. Just the right place. Just the right time.
This photo of your 1967 team (in Gill) that appeared in the '68 Beaver yearbook must've been taken just before the season itself kicked off. A handful of players are shown who (apparently) did not participate in either games or practice; that is, they weren't active contributors in 1967.
No harm, no foul. That was not unusual back then (and is not unusual now) for college football. Yet, I wanted to illuminate just the "active" contributors that season. As a result, I felt it would be inaccurate and (somehow) not "equitable" to include guys who didn't practice and didn't play.
If someone does not appear in the team collage (see below) who should, then contact me and I will check with my version of the GK "brain trust" to resolve the discrepancy. But keep in mind, I'm not the judge and jury on such matters. No; I am but a semi-humble servant of your recollections.
While I don't recall quite when or quite where I first spoke with Billy Main, I am able to recall why: because I had the early makings of a screenplay in mind and he answered the phone. So that's how we launched what soon morphed into a great friendship and a whole lot of projects. Heck of a guy.
That was in 2002. I finished the Giant Killers screenplay in 2003. And that was how I came to know so many of you plus a large handful of guys who lined up against you during the '67 season. Gary Beban was among them. Beat OJ for the Heisman. It gets better. Gary's an Honorary GK.
One of the "inside" stories of that season is Bob Blackburn calling every game from Purdue on while sporting a tuxedo. He was in Seattle at a tux-required event on the Friday before the game and didn't have enough time to change and still make his flight to Indiana. And so, as a result...
...Bob flew more than halfway across the country in the tux that has gone down in Giant Killers' lore as (maybe) the margin of luck that helped push you past the 2nd-ranked Boilermakers (22-14) and into the bright on bright lights of sudden national acclaim. Click here for more details on the story.
The 1967 Beavers were a re-tooled version of the 1966 Beavers just as the 1968 team was a re-tooled verion of the Giant Killers group. But the '68 group was snake-bitten and star-crossed and fell just barely short of its promise as (perhaps) the best football team in the history of Oregon State.
We lost only 6 seniors off the GK squad. Yes, four of you were All-PAC-8 or All-America but the '68 team entered the season with a cool self-confidence that was rooted in what you had achieved even with two "self-inflicted" defeats to the Huskies in Seattle and to Brigham Young in Corvallis.
Alas, the 1968 Beavers lost three games by a total of five points due (in part) to Steve Preece being injured and the graduation of Mike Haggard. When it comes to "what could've been," our '68 football squad has lived with the reasonable belief that they could have been America's best team.
Playboy's 1968 Football Preview was a big deal in the far less crowded world of sports info back then. The writers picked OSU to finish #2 with a good shot at being #1. They forecast Jon Sandstrom and John Didion to be All-Americans and named Dee Andros as Coach of the Year. Glory Days.
PLAYBOY 1968 FOOTBALL PREVIEW
"We had great trust in Dee, great trust in our coaches, great trust in each other, and we believed in what we were doing and in what Dee quoted so often from The Man in The Glass. All of us, we were proud to belong to this team. No, we didn't all like each other but we damn well did love each other."