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Len Younce

Len Younce - Football

Len Younce earned his spot in the state’s sports memory as a scrappy lineman who helped Oregon State to its first bowl game and then reached the NFL.

Born in Dayton in 1917, Sears graduated from Portland’s Roosevelt High and enrolled at Oregon State, where he played three varsity seasons (1938-40) as a 6-foot-1, 200-pound guard on the offensive line. As a junior, Younce teamed with center Quentin Greenough and tackle Vic Sears to lead the Beavers to a 9-1-1 record and win over Hawaii in the 1940 Pineapple Bowl, played in Honolulu. Following that season, he was voted honorable mention All-America.

The New York Giants selected Younce in the eighth round of the 1941 Draft and he played there on the offensive line for six seasons, helping the team reach the NFL title game three times. He also played linebacker, and handled punting and placekicking duties at times.

In 1944, he led the league in punting yards. In 1948, he made 36 of 37 extra-point attempts. He finished his career with 10 interceptions.

Younce was voted All-NFL five times, and was voted to the NFL’s Team of the Decade for the 1940s at guard.

Following his playing career, Younce returned to Oregon State as an assistant coach for six seasons. He also coached in the Canadian Football League for the Edmonton Eskimos.

In 1992, Younce coached Joseph High in Eastern Oregon for one season at age 75.

 Younce was inducted to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 1980 and into the Oregon State Athletics Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class in 1991.