15 Greatest “Oregon” Ducks

Duck athletes own the “Beaver” state

In light of the recent trend of elite in-state athletes deciding to stay home in Oregon for their respective college careers, it is time to take a look back at some of the iconic Ducks from the state of Oregon. Whether they were born here- or in a few cases- they just moved here early on;

Here is a collection of the most accomplished “Oregon” Duck athletes.

We start this list with our Honorable Mention selections. All of which are tremendous athletes hovering just outside the top 15:

Rich Ruhl- From Roseburg, played inside linebacker for the Gang Green defense from ’91- ’95. Not the first of his family to excel on the football field, his late father Dick Ruhl was a linebacker at Oregon State and played in the ’65 Rose Bowl . 30 years later, Rich would play in the 1995 Rose Bowl.

AD Smith- The fan favorite from Eugene starred at Churchill High and led the Lancers to the ’95 State title, and earned ’95 Oregon high school Player of the Year honors. After graduation, Smith enjoyed a career in the professional European basketball leagues until 2006. After breaking a bone in his face during a game, fans might recall the facemask he wore during the upset of #3 Arizona at Mac court the following week.

Chad Cota- The stand out safety from Ashland could do it all on the field and was a key piece of the ’95 Rose Bowl team. The talented safety was drafted in the 7th round of the ’95 NFL draft to the Carolina Panthers. For more on Chad Cota and other great Duck safeties, click here.

Brent Haberly- Originally from Roseburg, Haberly attended high school in Cottage Grove. The tough and reliable linebacker worked his way from walk-on to team leader. He might never have made more of an impact than with his game winning 34 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown at Arizona. That game in ’05 is also noted for being the game in which Kellen Clemens season ended due to a leg injury. Two plays later, Dennis Dixon suffered a concussion. The outcome of the game was in serious doubt when Haberly scooped and scored.

Jed Weaver/Dan Weaver- From Redmond, the pair of walk-ons made their mark at the U of O. Jed Weaver was an incredible tight end who simply refused to be tackled, and amassed big yards after contact. He was drafted in the 7th round in the ’99 draft by the Eagles. He was traded and played on the ’04 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. His brother Dan was a steady performer himself, and started 37 games at center from ’00-’03.

Chris Tetterton- You would be hard pressed to find someone who played with more heart than Tetterton. The Sheldon grad played early on the scout team, and finished his career as a key contributor from ’97-’01. Never the biggest defensive tackle at 6′ 275lb, it was his sheer work ethic and determination that highlighted his play.

Josh Bidwell- The pride of Winston, Oregon was arguably the best punter in Duck history. Bidwell had linebacker size at 6’3″ 220 and used it, making more than one crushing tackle in his career. Which, to say the least, is extremely rare for any player with a single bar facemask. His 43.9 yard average was enough for the Packers to invest a 4th round pick on him in ’99. He played for the Packers, Buccaneers, and was cut by the Redskins in July of 2011. He was All-Pac-10 in 1998, and made the All-Pro team in 2005.

Maarty Leunen- Born in Vancouver, Leunen led Redmond to a state title games in ’03 and ’04, winning the championship in ’03. He was named as the Gatorade State Player of the Year in ’04. Drafted 54th Overall in 2008 by the Houston Rockets, Maarty currently plays professionally in Italy. With great size at 6’9″, Leunen showcased exceptional shooting touch on 3 pointers and free throws.


15. Jordan Kent-

Jordan Kent was named as the 2-time Oregon Track Athlete of the Year

While it is difficult to imagine a recent player with more deeply rooted local ties, Kent was actually born in Saudi Arabia. He attended Churchill High in Eugene won a combined 11 indivdual and state titles in track and basketball, and was the 1st athlete to become a 4 event champion in track (100, 200, 400, and Long Jump) He broke a 41 year old state record in the Long Jump, besting the old mark- set by the great Mel Renfro- by a full 1 foot. Kent became the first 3 sport athlete in the pac 10 since 1970. Jordan lit up the “combine” style workouts and was drafted in the 6th round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks despite playing only 2 years of Football in college.

14. Kellen Clemens-

Kellen Clemens posted a career best 437 passing yards 3 tds, and 3 rushing touchdowns vs Washington State in ’04

Clemens led Burns High to a state 3A Championship in ’99. He was tabbed as a USA Today All-American and Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year. The memeber of a 6th generation cattle ranch family who still preside over their 3,500 acre spread. He set high school records for passing yards (8,646) and touchdowns (102). One of the toughest Quarterbacks in Oregon history, the only thing that seemed to slow him down was a broken ankle suffered during the ’05 campaign. He was selected in the 2nd round of the ’06 NFL Draft to the NY Jets. It seemed he would get his chance as a starter after the team traded away Chad Pennington, but the Jets instead signed Brett Favre.

13. Fred Jones-

Fred Jones led the Ducks to a rare Pac-10 basketball title in ’01- ’02

Born in Malvern, Arkansas, Jones moved to Gresham in middle school and attended Barlow High School. The former Oregon Player of the Year played 4 years as a Duck and led Oregon to the Elite Eight during his senior year. Drafted 14th overall in 2002 by the Indiana Pacers, he initially sat behind Reggie Miller. His best production came in the ’04-’05 season when he filled in for the suspended-for-punching-fans Ron Artest. In his only appearance in the All-Star weekend event, Fred Jones won the ’04 Slam Dunk champion.

12. LaJourdain J. (JJ) Birden-

JJ Birden was among the fastest Ducks in the ’80’s

The Portland native and Lakeridge High alum possessed next level speed and game changing ability at just 5’9″ 160lb. Selected in the 8th round by the Cleveland Browns in 1988, Birden played 9 years, including stints with the Cowboys, and Falcons. Birden was perhaps best known as a Kansas City Chief and Tecmo Super Bowl legend from ’90- ’94.

11. The Wilcox Family-

Josh Wilcox breaks a Penn State tackle in the ’95 Rose Bowl

Few families have had the impact at Oregon as great as that of the Wilcox’s. First with Dave Wilcox, an All-world linebacker from Ontario, Oregon who was drafted by both the NFL and AFL (Houston Oilers) drafts, and went on to play 10 seasons for the 49ers. He garnered 7 Pro Bowl selections, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000. Next came Josh Wilcox, who set a superb standard for future Oregon tight ends, and played a crucial role during the ’95 Rose Bowl run. Justin Wilcox arrived in ’96 and played both safety and cornerback for the Ducks. Now an accomplished coach, he has worked at Boise State, California, Tennessee, and is currently on Steve Sarkisian’s staff as Defensive Coordinator at Washington.

10. Luke Jackson-

Luke Jackson was named to 4 straight All-Pac-10 teams

Born in Eugene, Luke Jackson grew up a few miles down the I-5 freeway in Creswell. The ’98 and ’00 3A State Player of the Year, Jackson finished his career at Oregon in the top 10 in 9 separate statistical categories. Versatile on the court, he is 1 of just 2 players in Pac-10 history with at least 1,900 points, 700 rebounds, and 400 assists. In one of the All-time great performances at Mac Court, Jackson went off for 40 points in an 2004 NIT game against Colorado. The Ducks rallied from an 18 point deficit behind Jackson’s 29 straight Oregon points in the 4th quarter and OT for the 1st round victory. He was selected in ’04 10th overall by the Cavaliers, and last played for the ’10-’11 Idaho Stampede.

9. Anthony Newman-

Anthony Newman played for 3 teams in 12 years with the NFL

Born in Bellingham, Washington, the future star grew up and attended high school in Beaverton. Skilled in several sports, Newman chose to attend the University of Oregon and was on of the best defensive backs in school history. He was selected in the 2nd round of the NFL draft by the LA Rams, and went on to a productive 12 year career. To read more about Newman and other great Duck safeties, click here

8. Chris Miller-

Gary Breedlove

Chris Miller threw 123 NFL Tds, and was a ’05 Oregon Sports HOF Inductee

Originally from Pomona, California, Chris Miller attended high school at Sheldon in Eugene. Miller broke records for both season and career yardage at Oregon, and was drafted by the Falcons 13th overall in the ’87 NFL draft. Miller played 10 seasons in the NFL and was selected to the Pro Bowl in ’91. Chosen by the Denver Broncos to take over after John Elway retired, his promising career was cut short in 1999 due to complications from concussions.

7. Terrell Brandon-

Terrell Brandon averaged 13.8 points, 3 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 1.58 steals per game over 12 NBA seasons

The Portland native and former Grant High School player won a 3A state title in ’88. Arguably the best basketball player in Oregon history, he was also the ’91 Pac-10 player of the year. Selected 11th overall by the Cavaliers, Brandon played 12 seasons in the NBA and was named to the All-Star team in both ’96 and ’97, the All-rookie team in ’92, and won the NBA Sportsmanship Award in ’97.

6. George Shaw-


Despite graduating in 1954, George Shaw’s 18 career interceptions still stand as the most all-time at the U of O

The former Grant High School star was named as an All-American in both football and baseball for the Ducks. A dominate athlete in his day, the Baltimore Colts used the #1 overall selection in the ’55 NFL draft on him. As a safety, the great George Shaw had 13 interceptions for the Ducks in the ’54 season. And- for the last time- to read more about George Shaw, and other great Duck safeties, click here

5. Mel Renfro-


UO Special Collections

Mel Renfro was named to the College and Pro football Hall of Fame, and the Dallas Cowboys “Ring of Honor”


Renfro was born in Houston, but attended Jefferson High School in Portland. Perhaps one of the best football players of all time, there was very little that Renfro couldn’t do. A track and football athlete, he was the first african-american ever allowed in Rice University stadium. Dominating on both offense and defense, he led the Ducks to a 31-12 victory that day. A 14 year veteran in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, he was selected to 5 All-Pro teams, 10 Pro Bowls (’70 Pro Bowl MVP), and played in 4 of the first 12 Super Bowls.

4. Howard “Hobby” Hobson-

“Hobby” Hobson lead the Tall Firs to victory in the inagural 1939 Natty

Howard “Hobby” Hobson played high school basketball at Franklin High in Portland, where his team won the 1921 state title. As captain of the U of O basketball team from ’24-’26, the Webfoots won the conference title in his final 2 years. He began coaching in 1928 and took over the Oregon program in 1936. His teams rolled up 3 consecutive conference championships, and won the first ever National championship in 1939. His teams were known as the “Tall Firs” because the players averaged 6′ tall, a rare height for the time. His Ducks were also remembered as the first team to travel across country to play.

3. Joey Harrington-


Joey finished his career at Oregon with 6,911 passing yards 59 tds, 210 rushing yards with 18 tds, and 1 td receiving

The Central Catholic graduate had an Oregon letter of intent signed by Len Casanova at birth. As a 3 year starter, Joey led the Ducks to unprecedented success in Bowl wins over #12 Texas and #3 Colorado. An All-American and ’01 Pac-10 Player of the Year, Harrington was featured on the famous “Joey Heisman” billboard in Times Square. He finished 4th in the Heisman voting and the next season was selected to appear on the cover of the EA Sports NCAA football video game in ’03. Harrington had a career 25-3 record and led the Ducks to several thrilling come from behind wins. He was selected as the 3rd overall pick of the Detroit Lions in the ’02 NFL draft.

2. Steve Prefontaine-

The Fearless Steve Prefontaine

A rare and special talent that could captivate an audience just as well as he could beat opponents on the track. “Pre” was among the most influential athletes of all time. Behind one of the best moustache and hair style combinations ever, Prefontaine once held the American records in 7 events ranging from the 2,000 to the 10,000 meters. Hailing from Coos Bay, Prefontaine was recruited by over 35 colleges, but decided to remain in-state and train under Bill Bowerman. His aggressive style was predicated on a gutty, all-or-nothing mentality and a refusal to back down. While peaking physically and training for the 1976 Olympics, Prefontaine crashed his MGB convertible into the rocks near the corner of Skyline Boulevard and died tragically at just 24 years old. Two films, “Prefontaine” in 1997 and “Without Limits” in 1998 detailed the life story of the famous Duck.

1. Phil Knight-

You know that Uncle Phil loves his Ducks

Growing up in Portland, Phil Knight attended Cleveland High School before enrolling at the University of Oregon. A middle distance runner and 3 year letterman under the legendary Bill Bowerman, Knight was a 1959 graduate with a PR of 4:10 in the mile. A motivated entrepreneur paired with Bowerman and a waffle iron, together laid the foundation that transformed Blue Ribbon Sports into the Nike empire that stands today. Phil and Penny Knight have been noted for their generous philanthropy and significant nine-figure contributions to Oregon, Stanford, and OHSU.

At Oregon, Mr. Knight has an athletic building named after him, the library is named after his mother, the law school for his father, and Matthew Knight Arena is named after his late son.

While there are names across this list that were blessed with more athletic talents than Knight, none have come close to having his overall impact. His blend of hard work, vision, loyalty, and business acumen have elevated the profile of the entire University over time, and has cemented the Ducks’ place on the national map. Taking his innovations in footwear, apparel, and athletic facilities into account; It would be a supreme challenge to find any figure who has impacted any University, and for that matter, modern global sports culture as much as he has.


Will any of the current athletes end up here, maybe Colt Lyerla or EJ Singler? Where might future stars like Oshay Dunmore and Thomas Tyner fit in?

**Despite our best efforts, We realize that some deserving athletes have most likely been left off. Leave a comment and tell us, Who did we leave out?

Print Friendly
Josh White

Josh White

Josh White has been a dedicated Duck fan since the Bill Musgrave days. He has attended (and lost his voice at) virtually every home game and many away games since the late 1980's, including 96 of the current 97 game sellout streak at Autzen Stadium. A Eugene native, Josh works full time in Eugene area real estate, helping people buy and sell residential and commercial properties, and also volunteers with Habitat For Humanity, Kidsports and Food For Lane County. He welcomes your feedback. Twitter: @WhiteHouseJosh Facebook: EugenesBestRealtor

  • Ashlanduck

    Many comments come to mind, but I will limit myself to two. First, how can anyone omit Ronnie Lee from such a list? Second, why do you refer to Prefontaine as infamous? Do you know the meaning of the word? Otherwise, enjoyable article.

  • Jon e boy

    Ronnie Lee – not an Oregonian.  Pre of course.  How do you leave Mike Walter off at least  honorable mention list. Sheldon High, Duck MVP, All pac 10. 2nd round draft,  11 years in NFL with SF and 3 superbowl championships.   

  • Worldwidewebfoot

    Norm Van Brocklin was not chopped liver and should included.  He played in the NFL for a dozen years.  A WWII veteran on the GI Bill, he and the other players of his kind would come off the field, sit down on the bench, and light up.  There is a plaque dedicated to his memory outside Deady Hall. 

  • The great thing about lists like this is that it allows us to dissect and compare our own lists of the greatest ever, discuss those who may have been omitted or otherwise deserve some recognition that fans may not know about.

    As there are no female athletes on this list, may I add track star Melanie Batiste for consideration. She was the Prefontaine-equivalent of women’s track. First individual national champion, four time All-American, 13 regional crowns, and Oregon Hall of Fame inductee.

    Also Annette Hand Peters deserves recognition, just take a look at her list of accomplishments:

    Or how about Bob Sanders? The driving force behind Oregon’s run to the Cotton Bowl in 1949, for decades ranked high on the career lists at Oregon for rushing and touchdowns.

    Or Don Reynolds?
    What about Galen Rupp?

    There are many names that could be included, and that’s what makes Oregon athletics and studying its proud history so great. Even when team success may have been a little lacking, there were still individual performances greatly deserving of recognition.

    • Josh White

      Kurt, thank you for adding a few of the many notable Duck women.

  • Duckfanintn

    I love Uncle Phil as much as the next guy and his contributions to the Ducks have been countless.    But I don’t know that he deserves to be on list of the most “accomplished athletes.”  He may be a the very top of a ton of list that can be made about UofO alumn, but this seems a bit out of place.

    • Josh White

      You are correct if taking about athletic accomplishments, but I chose to expand the criteria a bit for his overall greatness as a “Oregon” Duck. His impact to athletics and to elite athletes across the world stretches far beyond his personal accomplishments as a student-athlete.

      Who would you have at #1?

      • Duckfanintn

        Always hard to say because it’s all opinion, which is why I didn’t blast you like some others.    Personally I’d probably go with Pre or Joey H.  

        As I stated above, Chael was a top tier wrestler and ranked #2 in the world in mma.  So just on accomplishments he would be up there.  But I’m sure many don’t know who he is as much as the others.Since I graduated from Eagle Point HS I’m a little dissapointed Joey Meerten didn’t make the list!  I played against Cota and Ruhl back in my day, I don’t know that they belong next to each other, Cota should probably be a bit higher.  

        • Josh White

          Great input, thank you. I can take a little ‘blasting’ anytime, as long the Chael Sonnen, in the octagon type

          • Josh White

            **As long as it is not the Chael Sonnen, octagon type**

  • Duckfanintn

    Oh, and what about Chael Sonnen?   I know wrestling is not a well known sport but that guy is a TOP tier wrestler, DIV 1 all american, Silver Medal at the Greco World Univ Champs.   Now in the UFC and while he hasn’t won a title there he came closer than anyone to dethroning Anderson Silva, currently ranked the #2 185 pound MMA fighter in the world.   He’s from West Linn.

    Hard to find someone more decorated.   

    • Josh White

      Interesting choice, and a great wrestler at Oregon. Let’s see how he does in his next MMA title bout.

  • Sean Harvey

    You can’t have Rich Ruhl on this list without Jeremy Asher. Especially given that Asher was the star of that linebacking corps, not Ruhl.  Asher was first team all conference in 95′ an honor that Ruhl never won.  Asher played at Tigard HS.

    •  Funny you mention that, because I’ve been trying to line up both Rich and Jeremy for interviews to do an article on those two, as it is impossible to think of Rich Ruhl without also thinking about Jeremy Asher. Like imagining Jerry Rice without Joe Montana, it’s just impossible to not associate Asher with Ruhl.

      Jeremy though has proven rather difficult to reach for an interview. But hopefully some day I can put that article together…

      • Sean Harvey

         Jeremy’s mother just died, so i imagine he will be tough to reach for a while.  My thoughts and prayers go out to their family as Sue Asher was a great woman.

    • Josh White

      Asher, Great mention. Led the ’95 team in tackles too!

  • Josh White

    It was difficult to leave Ronnie Lee off the list. The only reason I left off the famous former ‘Kamikaze kid’ is because he was from Massachusetts, and had never been to Oregon prior to enrolling.

    While Norm Van Brocklin was a great Duck, he was a South Dakota native, and attended high school in California.

    Thank you all for adding much deserving names like Walter, Reynolds, Sanders, and Rupp. Another name omitted was Laddie Gail from Oakridge. Gail led the Tall Firs in scoring in ’38 &’39, was a 2 time All-conference selection, and was inducted into both the Naismith and Oregon Hall of Fame.

    Thanks for reading and contributing, and Go Ducks!

  • Sven

    Any article with Chris Tetterton in it is a good article.

    Per below, Galen Rupp has to be right up in the top 15.

    •  Tetterton is certainly in the top 10 of all-time fan favorites for his passion for the game and being a local kid.

      I interviewed him for an article about the 2000 & 2001 Wisconsin games that appeared on FishDuck back before the Rose Bowl.

      Today Chris Tetterton lives in Los Angeles and works on the TV show “Wipe Out” on ABC. He creates and operates the various pneumatic gadgets on the show that beat up people. Whenever you see somebody getting hit with a giant pneumatic boxing glove or falling off some mechanical platform, that’s Tetterton’s design and he’s the one pressing the buttons.

      • Josh White

        Ever since that interview, I have laughed a little more watching Wipeout

  • Andy

    GREAT POST – but what about Dante Rosario and Ashton Eaton?  In my mind these are two of the best athletes who grew up here in Oregon and could do any sport they wanted to.  Freak athletes!  If you haven’t youtubed Rosario dropkicking someone in that Cal game on a kickoff your life is not yet complete.

    • Josh White

      Great additions, thank you Andy!

  • WStrubbe

    Whoa!!!!   Bobby Moore (Ahmad Rashad?) Russ Francis?  Dan Fouts????  Where are they????

    • c ya in Miami!

      Fouts was born, grew up, and attended HS in the SF Bay area so he wasn’t tied to the state until he became a Duck.  Bobby Moore born in Portland but went to HS in Tacoma.  Francis moved to Oregon during HS.  The article seems to list people with deeper local ties than that.

    •  Bobby Moore/Ahmad Rashad was from Tacoma, WA.
      Dan Fouts was from the bay area.

      This is a list of homegrown Ducks, Oregon natives.

  • Anonymous

    Bill McChesney.
    Dyrol Burleson.
    Bill Bowerman.
    Bill Dellenger.

    • Josh White

      Thank you for the high quality additions, WarwickDuck!

      • Quack

        Dan Fouts is from California (as are most of the top U of O football players) and Mel Renfro was not born in Oregon. Only one nfl HOF was born in Oregon, Dave Wilcox.

  • mr C


    • Josh White

      No, I remember Mr Zimmerman quite well. He starred at Walnut High School in his native state of California.


    • Josh White


  • AugustusderZweite

    Troy (Aumua) Polamalu was born in California but graduated from Douglas High in Winston. Josh Bidwell is good and all, but Polamalu is not chopped tofurkey.

    Rich Ruhl made the last because he’s from Roseburg, duh.

    •  But Polamalu didn’t play for Oregon.  This is a list of homegrown Ducks.

    • Josh White

      Troy Polamalu is a great Oregonian, but he did not play at the university of Oregon.

      • AugustusderZweite

        Yeah, I know that; I was responding to the description of Josh Bidwell as the pride of Winston. I’d believe that Troy would have his fair share of supporters in the Winston area. I should’ve explained my response better; sorry about that.

  • Xxkeman

    Boy there are a lot of guys you didn’t mention.  Otis Davis  Olympic Gold Metalist and world record holder in the 400/440.  Dyrol Burleson … the greatest of Oregon milers.  Harry Jerome, world record co-holder in the 100 meters. How about Mel Renfro … great track and football athlete.  These are just a few who could have been mentioned.  Although I love Phil Knight, he was just a middling miler and at 4:10 mile, probably couldn’t qualify for the NCAA’s because there were always at least 3 faster guys in front of him.  Dave Wilcox was probably the most dominant team sport athlete in Oregon history.  They just stopped running to his side of the field. He went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with Ronny Lott and Joe Montana.  They had never seen him play until the ceremonies at Canton, Ohio and both expressed how great he was. Better than LT any day.  His name escapes me, but what about the big giant blonde shot putter who was the first, I believe, to use the full spin to throw the shot.  I think he held the world record for awhile.  Then there was Ken Patera, a giant weightlifter, who threw the shot for Oregon for awhile, there was a period of time when he was the second strongest man in the world after Vasily Alexiev, the great Russian strong man. 

    • phlduck

      Not trying to nitpick, while I’m as rabid a duck fan as they come, there is no way in hell that Wilcox was better than Lawrence Taylor! I don’t know how anyone could try and dispute this to be quite honest? Dave was a tremendous football who ended up in the HOF, but LT changed the way football was played. End of story. 
      Josh, sorry about the Fouts post. For some reason I thought he had grown up in Bend, not retired there. Still don’t see how Renfro isn’t #1 though. Could’ve been a HOF RB as well. Also, the omission of Ashton Eaton is pretty surprising, as he is one of the greatest athletes ever from the state.

      • Josh White

        Phlduck- I agree that Renfro could top a list of all time best football player or most gifted athlete, but I chose to expand the criteria to include overall impact or contribution as a Duck. Hard to argue with the few names listed above him in that department. While Renfro could torch all of them in a 40 yard dash, I felt the others have made more wide scale contributions as a Duck-from Oregon. Imagine how many names we could assemble of we allowed the out-of-staters too?

  • Pat Brown

    Josh, when touting the Wilcox family, I believe you overlooked John Wilcox, Dave’s older brother.  He was an impressive Duck ’59- ’60 in his day, and was drafted by the Boston Patriots.  

    • Josh White

      Thanks for adding this, Pat.

  • Xxkeman

    Sorry … missed the Oregon native aspect upon my initial reading … Burleson still deserves to be mentioned … a Cottage Grove boy.

  • Cblythe

    Michael Walter

  • Cblythe

    Peter Jacobsen

  • Maddog48

    Harry Jerome and Otis Davis were not Oregonians, in fact, Jerome was Canadian.

  • Maddog48

    Here is a more detailed response.  While I will focus upon football, I would remind people of two Oregon track and field stars in recent years, Galen Rupp and Ashton Eaton.  Eaton is a “rock star” in current track and field.

    Turning to Oregon football, my list of omitted Oregon players (most of whom not only were stars at Oregon but went on to pro careers includes J.W. Beckett (College Football Hall of Fame), Shy Huntington (All-America and successful head coach at Oregon), Raymond “Butch” Morse, Ross Carter, Sr., Del Bjork, Frank Emmons, Jim Stuart, Dick Wilkins (primarily a basketball player but spent several seasons in pro football), Monte Brethauer, Emery Barnes, Jack Patera, Dick James, Jack Stone, Jack Morris, Jim Shanley, Darrel Aschbacher, Riley Mattson, Dave Tobey, Ray Palm, Steve Bunker, Claxton Welch, Andy Maurer, Russ Francis, Tom Drougas, Brad Ecklund, Tom Blanchard, Lionel Coleman, Bill Drake, Bob Newland.

    I would put many, if not all of these players up against the honorable mentions, and in some cases up against the top 15.

    One additional comment.  I appreciate everything Phil Knight has done for Oregon.  The problem is that as an athlete he was not particularly significant.  Bill Bowerman was not only a great track and field coach, but he was an Oregon football player in the early 1930’s and later an assistant football coach.

    • Josh White

      Thank you for the list, Maddog48. I appreciate your research and feedback. One could easily compile a top 50 or more. The list I put together was not intended to be all-inclusive, and many of our knowledgeable readers have contributed some fantastic additions so far.

    • Also, thank you Maddog48 for all the work you’ve done on Fanbase.com building the archived Oregon rosters. I’ve used the site often for reference material for my articles and research.  Thank you for all the work you’ve done on Oregon history, I would like to speak to you more about it…

      could you please email me at Kurt at FishDuck.com so we can speak further.

  • Oneputtoneal

    What happened to Dan Fout’s ?

    • Josh White

      Dan Fouts without question was one of the greatest quarterbacks in Duck, and NFL history. The reason he didn’t make this list is because he was born- and played his high school football- in the San Francisco area.

  • Jimmylong69

    Aaron brooks?

    • Josh White

      Aaron Brooks, one of the great Ducks guards had an unbelievable ’07 season. Not on the list though, as he was born and raised in Seattle.

  • Erik

    Ahmad rashad?

    • Josh White

      Ahmad Rashad, aka Bobby Moore, could also be mentioned as he was born in Portland, but grew up and went to high school in Tacoma.

      • Maddog48

        I thought this was about athletes from Oregon, and in coming to that conclusion, I thought that meant they were living in Oregon when they decided to play for Oregon not that they were born in Oregon.

  • Chapduck

    Jerry Tarr high hurdle champion forever in the old Pac 8 conference? Team mate of Harry Jerome.

    • Maddog48

      Tarr was a much better track athlete than he was a football player.  The problem is that he was not from Oregon, but California.

  • WStrubbe

    Sorry for my earlier post.   Didn’t know we weren’t including muggles. 

     But Ahmad Rashad was the fourth player taken in the draft, was all pro (I think) and married Felicia Rashad.  That ought to be good for something. 

  • Duck

    Joe Schaffeld – 1957 Rose Bowl participant. Long time D-line coach for the Ducks, revered around the state as a great Oregonian on and off the field.

  • Nancy Brethauer Blaire

    My dad was Monte Leon Brethauer, and of course, I thought he was pretty great.  I also thought a few of his college records were still standing at the time of his death in 1994, which seemed pretty amazing considering how advanced athletes are today.  I may be mistaken about thatm but no matter where you rate him, he’ll always be Number 1 to me.  Nancy Brethauer Blaire

    • Josh White

      Thanks, Nancy! I’ve done considerable research and found that your dad was indeed a very special Oregon Football player. Our apologies as there are no doubt, several more names we missed along with Mr Brethauer. Your dad lettered 3 years ’51,’52,’53 as a defensive back under legendary coach Len Casanova. He was the 24th player selected by the Baltimore Colts in their 1st ever draft and played 2 seasons as a punter.

      During this era, accurate football stats and records were not always maintained and I have been unable to find out much more. If you have any additional information, please contact me at josh@eugenesbestrealtor.com and I would love to hear more. Thank you for reading.

      • Julie Brethauer

        Monte was also my Dad and I am interested in seeing where I might find some footage of his footballs days. Either at Oregon or at Baltimore. Any ideas where to look. Also, did they get pins or something back then for the accomplishments on the field. I have often wondered if he did, what ever happened to them.

  • luke jackson 10 but luke ridnour not even an honorable mention?

    • Josh White

      Thanks for reading, Zach. Ridnour was a great Oregon Basketball player, but grew up near Seattle in Blaine, Washington and was born in Idaho, so he didn’t make the cut for this list..

  • Mpeyton

    I’m looking for Dan Fouts on that list and can’t seem to find it?

    • Josh White

      Thanks Peyton, but another reader beat you to it, to quote a previous reply you can find by scrolling further down in the comment section:

      “Dan Fouts without question was one of the greatest quarterbacks in Duck, and NFL history. The reason he didn’t make this list is because he was born- and played his high school football- in the San Francisco area.”

  • phlduck

    Sorry, but how do you not have Mel Renfro #1?? HOF’er is pretty much all you have to say, isn’t it? And no Fouts? Another HOF’er. I also think that putting all the Wilcox’s together is kind of a disservice. As good as Josh and Justin were at Oregon, their pops is another NFL HOF’er, which should garner him just a little more credit IMO. 

  • AK47

    The entertainment value generated from the commenters is through the roof.  Seriously, people.

  • Pk-hoffman

    You forgot Dave Wilcox’s big brother John. He played for the Egales in the presuperbowl days.

  • Curtis_Interuptis

    How could you leave out Eric Castle?  Arguably one of the best safeties ever at Oregon; born in Oregon, played for Lebanon in High School, second (maybe third) round draft pick (only because of mono his senior year), played in Super Bowl with San Diego…..  His big brother (Brian Castle) was a pretty good Duck, too.

  • Duckphil

    What about the Crouser Brothers from Gresham?  Dean won NCAA titles in the shot and discus in 1982 and the Discus in 1983.  Four Time Pac-10 Champs in those events.  Brian won the Javelin as a Freshman in 1982 and again in 1986, and won the Pac-10 twice.  Both set school records at the time which still stand among the all-time bests.

  • JJ Birden

    This is an interesting list because there have been some amazing athletes born in our State.  It’s nice to see from this list that all stayed in State.  It was always disappointing to see our “best” travel out of State. To be thought of in this capacity is a honor.  Knight is a unique pick at #1 but I understand it. I’ve always that Renfro was the best overall athlete born in Oregon.  Topics like this always makes for some interesting dialogue.  Thanks for opening it up.  Stay Positive,  JJ

    • Joshuamshannon


      Could you please confirm that when Jordan Kent broke the high school long jump record that it was actually only a one year mark that was set the previous year by Ryan Brown. (Unless, of course this is stating that it was a state meet record?)

  • jacob

    So after the olympics, I think it is clear that Galen Rupp is a top 5 oregon duck of all time. I pretty good case could have been made before the olympics, but after his silver, the first metal in the 10k since tokyo, its clear he might be the greatest american distance runner not named pre. right now he is the best white distance runner in the world. Some might think that bigger sports mean they should rank higher, but few ducks have achieved the success that Galen has, in any sport

  • Darin Honey

    The World’s Greatest Athlete, Ashton Eaton certainly belongs on this list.


  • joe.chouinard

    Dave Brantley was a fantastic Duck. Originally signed out of Churchill High School in Eugene to fill the “local athlete” spot, Dave became the leader of those resurgent early 80’s hoops teams that beat UCLA and went to the NIT. There was a noticeable drop off the year after Brantley graduated. The team had lost its heart and soul. …and on top of all that, he was a hell of a nice guy.

  • wtd

    Just a quick note, Haberly is from Sutherlin, not Roseburg.

  • disqus_dDOeDjepzM

    What about chael connen does he count

  • Dustin Jaquette

    Jeremy Asher. Tigard HS and key member of Gang Green.

  • realdeal1986 .

    What about Eric Castle?

  • Pingback: Phil From Modern Family Oregon Ducks | Tips for Modern Family()

  • Pingback: Phil From Modern Family Oregon Ducks Basketball | Easy Watch tv()