Wrestling, 1926 – Oregon State’s first national champion in the days before the NCAA, back when the school was known as Oregon Agricultural College. This team is famous, or perhaps infamous, for winning the AAU National Championship amid allegations of “greasing” – using a slippery substance to prevent opposing grapplers from getting a good grip. The team was discontinued the following year. The 1926 squad was led by Robin Reed, an Olympic gold medalist in 1924.
The Ironmen, football, 1933 – A 6-2-2 record doesn’t sound that sparkling. But there’s more to this season. Mighty Southern California, the two-time defending national champs, was riding a 25-game win streak and brought 80 players to Multnomah Stadium in Portland on Oct. 21. The Beavers had 11 “Ironmen” who played every down on offense, defense and special teams. Oregon State College tied the Trojans 0-0. Trivia: This season saw the first use of OSU’s pyramid play used to block kicks. The play was later outlawed for safety reasons.
Basketball, 1948-49 – The Beavers finished the season with a 24-12 record and were Pacific Coast champs. But they made their mark as the first Oregon State team to play in the Final Four. This Slats Gill led squad included the great Cliff Crandall of Astoria, a two-time All-American who was the first Beaver to drop more than 1,000 points in a career.
Liberty Bowl football squad, 1962 – We can’t leave this squad off the list, if only for Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker’s 99-yard scoring run in the Liberty Bowl, an NCAA record that can never be broken. That was the only score in the game as the Beavers beat Villanova 6-0 to finish 9-2 on the season, and No. 16 in the rankings.
Basketball, 1962-63 – Another Final Four squad on the hardwood for the orange and black. Oregon State was led by junior All-American Mel Counts, who averaged 21 points and 15.6 rebounds per game that season. You might recognize the name of the team’s second-leading scorer. Terry Baker, he of the Heisman Trophy, dropped 13.4 points per game for the Beavs. Slats Gill coached the team to a 22-9 overall record. Though the team couldn’t replicate its postseason success the next season, Counts could take solace with an Olympic gold medal.
The Giant Killers, football, 1967 – The Beavers finished 7-2-1, but had an amazing run of success late. In the span of a month, Oregon State defeated No. 2 Purdue 22-14, tied No. 2 UCLA 16-16 and beat top-ranked Southern California 3-0 thanks to a game saving tackle of O.J. Simpson by Jess Lewis. The squad finished seventh in the final Associated Press rankings.
Wrestling, 1969 – Pinning machine Jess Lewis was the heavyweight champ for the Beavers, who finished third at the NCAA Championships. Oregon State had four other All-Americans. Phil Frey took fourth place at 145 pounds, Jim Vandehey fourth place at 167 pounds, Bob Hawkins fifth place at 137 pounds and Kim Snider sixth place at 152 pounds.
Wrestling, 1970 – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Jess Lewis was the heavyweight champ for the Beavers, who finished third at the NCAA Championships. The black clad matmen had five other All-Americans. Jim Crumley was second at 177, Roger Weigel third at 126, Bob Tomasovic fourth at 150, Jim Vandehey fifth at 167 and Kim Snider sixth at 158.
Gymnastics, 1980 – The Beavers took fourth place at the NCAA Championships with a score of 140.150. Linda Parker finished seventh on the balance beam and Connie Shuya placed 10th in the uneven bars. (Parker also took fourth on the floor exercise in 1978.)
Gymnastics, 1982 – Mary Ayotte-Law was the national champion on floor exercise as the Beavers finished fourth with 143.00 points. She also took third place in the all-around competition. Utah won the meet with a score of 148.600.
Baseball, 2017 – Oregon State finished won the Pac-12, finishing with an absurd 56-6 record. The Beavs won a ridiculous 23 games in a row, which would sound goofy even for a church league softball team. Of course, this is baseball, perhaps the most fickle of all sports. While the Beavers advanced to the College World Series, they fizzled and couldn’t seal the deal until the next season. Superstar second baseman Nick Madrigal led the squad and was the Pac-12’s player and defensive player of the year.
(Pictured above: Beavers coach Dee Andros is carried off the field at Parker Stadium after his famed "Giants Killers" team knocked off top-ranked USC 3-0 on Nov. 11, 1967.)