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Joe Francis

Joe Francis - Football

Joe Francis ran and passed Oregon State to the 1957 Rose Bowl and then played professionally in both the NFL and CFL.

Born in 1936, Francis grew up in Hawaii and was recruited to Corvallis by coach Kip Taylor. He remained at the school after Tommy Prothro became coach in 1955. Francis played halfback from 1955-57, but frequently threw passes in the Beavers’ run-based offense. In 1956, the Beavers lost two of their first three games, but then won six consecutive games to claim a spot in the Rose Bowl. They tied their final regular-season game, 14-14, against Oregon while playing before a national television audience on NBC. In the Rose Bowl, Francis had 207 yards of total offense, but OSU lost to Iowa 35-19, and finished No. 10 in the final Associated Press poll – its highest ranking at the time.

Oregon State went 8-2 in ’57 with Francis being named team MVP as he had been the previous season.

The Green Bay Packers selected him in the fifth round of the 1958 NFL Draft and he played two seasons under Coach Vince Lombardi as back-up for Bart Starr. He played two seasons, 1961-62, for the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL before returning to Hawaii to become a Physical Education teacher and football coach.

Francis fathered two sons, Jon and Ikaika, who played in the NFL.

Francis was inducted to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Oregon State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991.