Running Through Autzen: Reuben Droughns!

Jerry Thompson Men of Oregon

Before a Stanford game years back, a large flock of Ducks met at PK Park for the annual football letter-winner’s tailgater. One of the more prominent O-Ducks in attendance was Reuben Droughns, one of Oregon’s greatest running backs. Droughns had four games where he rushed for over 200 yards: 202 vs. Michigan State (1998), 207 vs. Arizona (’99), 214 vs. …

Cal Frustration: A Colorado Repeat, Not a Step Forward

Jerry Thompson Editorials

My friends, below is an editorial by a man (Jerry Thompson) who has quite a publishing history in the Willamette Valley, is an honorable man and someone who is my friend. I disagree with many of his conclusions, but recently I changed our editorial policy to allow “all” opinions to be published so long as they offer examples or proof …

Ducks Face Tough Test at Boise Saturday

Jerry Thompson Editorials

Just looking at their current win-loss records, one would think the  No. 24-ranked Oregon Ducks (7-1) should not have too big a problem taking on the unranked Boise State Broncos (6-4) Saturday in Boise (5 p.m. on CBS Sports Network). Taking a closer look, one sees that three of the Broncos’ losses came at the hands of No. 1 Michigan State and …

Where Are They Now? Danny O’Neil (1991-1994): Bigger Than Life

Jerry Thompson Men of Oregon: Players and Coaches

Oregon Duck fans everywhere can always be grateful that former Oregon assistant Nick Aliotti stretched the truth when Aliotti was recruiting high school quarterback Danny O’Neil in 1990. Twenty years ago, O’Neil led the Ducks to the Pac-10 championship and 1995 Rose Bowl game vs. Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions, and in that game O’Neil broke the Rose Bowl passing record …

“Mighty Oregon,” Authorized History of Oregon Football available in a 4-DVD set

Jerry Thompson For the Fans


For Jerry Thompson, the addiction to Oregon Duck football began 11 days after his sixth birthday when he watched the Oregon play Ohio State in the 1958 Rose Bowl. He and his twin brother Larry, wore their new Christmas football uniforms to the game and witnessed the Ducks almost upset the No. 1 Buckeyes in a 10-7 loss.  Highlights of that game as well as a multitude of others, including the 2012  Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, are contained in the 7-hour, 4-DVD production, “Mighty Oregon.” 

The Thompson family, who lived in Cottage Grove, followed Duck football through thick and thin, and Jerry became a student manager for the football team in 1969 and 1970.  After earning a degree in television and film, Thompson decided in 1987 to bring the history of Oregon football to life via video.

Roar the praises of her warriors: All the hits, misses and hijinks of Oregon football history are in the “Mighty Oregon” DVD collection, a 4-disc set.

“Even though the Ducks had not gone to a bowl game since 1963, they had so many great players and there was no way for fans to see them, so I approached the UO athletic department marketing person at the time about making the video. He turned me down, saying they weren’t interested in the past. I didn’t take “no” for an answer, so I went to the top and talked with A.D. Bill Byrne, and we struck a deal.”

The first version of “Mighty Oregon” came out on VHS and contained film action of such Ducks as Bill Bowerman (yes, he played football for the Webfoots), Norm Van Brocklin, George Shaw, NFL Hall of Famers Mel Renfro, Dave Wilcox, Dan Fouts and Gary Zimmerman; and virtually every Duck football player of any significance. Over 50 players and coaches (Len Casanova, John McKay, Jerry Frei, John Robinson, and Rich Brooks to name a few) were also interviewed).

The new DVD contains all of that plus all of the Mike Bellotti and Chip Kelly era.

There are numerous features such as humorous Duck tales, fantastic finishes, greatest hits, recruiting stories, action footage of every record-breaking play, and coverage of every bowl game.

Thompson takes his greatest satisfaction in a “seek and find” mission/obsession in 1987 to obtain footage of the 1917 Rose Bowl game in which Oregon beat Penn 14-0…Oregon’s only Rose Bowl win until this year.

 The UO, Penn, the Rose Bowl committee and numerous film archives around the U.S. were contacted to no avail. In a visit to Portland, Thompson heard a rumor that some footage of the game was on an old “Jim Thorpe, All-American” film.  Thompson rented the movie and was disappointed to find none of that game was on that movie.  By a quirk of fate, or divine providence as Thompson views it, he was visiting with a friend who lived a block away and told him about his fruitless search. The neighbor, who was not a sports fan at all, said he had for some unknown reason, recorded a documentary about college football off of his television, and told Thompson he could watch it.  Early in the video, the narrator talked about Dwight Eisenhower and Knute Rockne playing college football. Some old film footage was shown as the narrator talked about the two men, and lo and behold, the footage being shown was of the Oregon-Penn game! 

Thompson knew it was that game because of the still photos he had seen from the game. In the film you could see No. 7, Penn’s Heine Miller, playing without a helmet. The referees’ crew cut and v-neck sweater were also a dead giveaway. Thompson contacted the producer in Los Angeles, who said he had no idea where the footage came from, but he granted Thompson rights to use it for the “Mighty Oregon” video.

As an example of the “obsession” Thompson had about the project, the day after being released from the hospital after his second hip-replacement surgery, Thompson took his crutches and flew alone to San Diego to interview Oregon greats Dan Fouts, Mel Renfro, Woodley Lewis, Gunther Cunningham and Dave Grayson.

About one-half of the new DVD covers 1894 through the 1995 Rose Bowl, and the second half details 1995 through 2012. The video is organized into decades and years, so fans can easily go to periods in which they are most interested.

One can see color footage of Oregon-Oregon State from 1939, and even baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson playing football for UCLA at Hayward Field in 1940.

Thompson wrote and produced the video, which is licensed by the UO’s IMG. It is hosted by Dan Fouts and Tim Stokes and is narrated by Jerry Allen.

He priced the 4-DVD set at $29.95. Thompson has also been the editor of Mighty Oregon (formerly Ducks Illustrated magazine for the past 13 years.  The “Mighty Oregon” video can be ordered directly at:  or

“I see this video as the “Roots” of Oregon football,” said Thompson. If you’re a Duck football fan, it’s like being a part of a family, and it’s fun to know your roots. For me Oregon football began in 1958, and for many fans it began with their first game they saw. As I put this together, the past became so interesting. For some that could be 1945, or 1990 or even 2011. It’s all there for the older fan or newer fan.”


Thompson can be contacted at: 541-221-3154


Oregon Unknowns: An Unforgettable Halftime with Len Casanova

Jerry Thompson History

A great trivia question for Duck football fans: What was the longest winning streak by a Duck team prior to their 11 straight in 2001-02 (counting overlapping seasons)?  Oregon finished the 1932 season with a win over LSU in the bitter cold of Louisiana, then won their first eight games of 1933 for a combined total of nine straight games.  …

Captain on the Field to Captain of Industry

Jerry Thompson Men of Oregon: Players and Coaches

Oregon Duck Mark Richards (1963-65) Oregon’s high achieving walk-on ANOTHER IN A SERIES FROM OUR FRIENDS AT MIGHTY OREGON Next to nose guard George Dames, who was a two-time first team All-Coast honoree in 1967 and 1968, it could safely be said that Mark Richards, a 1961 grad of Cottage Grove High School, is the Ducks’ most honored walk-on. Richards …

Out of the Desert, But Can He Teach Shakespeare?

Jerry Thompson Men of Oregon: Players and Coaches

Out of the Desert, But Can He Teach Shakespeare? ANOTHER IN A SERIES FROM OUR FRIENDS AT MIGHTY OREGON AN INTERVIEW WITH ISAAC REMINGTON By Dusty Ritter  As a native of Queen Creek Arizona, Isaac Remington escaped the desert heat and started fresh in the Willamette Valley. His first meeting with head coach Chip Kelly was after the Ducks’ Rose …

“Will Power” from Walk-On to Walking Tall

Jerry Thompson Men of Oregon: Players and Coaches

“Will Power” from Walk-On to Walking Tall ANOTHER IN A SERIES FROM OUR FRIENDS AT MIGHTY OREGON AN INTERVIEW WITH WILL MURPHY By Dusty Ritter A last second realization brought him back to Eugene to fulfill his childhood dream of playing for the Ducks and his determination earned him a spot on the scout team during his redshirt freshman year …

6′-7″, 311lbs, Can’t Block Destiny

Jerry Thompson Men of Oregon: Players and Coaches

6′-7″, 311lbs Can’t Block Destiny Another in a series from our friends at Mighty Oregon, an interview with Kyle Long by Dusty Ritter Kyle Long has some huge shoes to fill, both literally and figuratively.  His father, Howie Long, played 13 seasons with the Oakland Raiders in the NFL and amassed eight pro bowl appearances. It earned him a spot …

Too Good Not to Get the Ball

Jerry Thompson Men of Oregon: Players and Coaches

 Another In A Series From Our Friends At Mighty Oregon An Interview With Kenjon Barner By Dusty Ritter Kenjon Barner came in to his senior season ready to capitalize.  Finally out of the shadow of LaMichael James, he prepped by stepping it up in the gym, the community, and as a leader.  His preparation paid off huge as Oregon finished …

Hang’em High and Stick’em Deep

Jerry Thompson Men of Oregon: Players and Coaches

 Hang’em High, Stick’em Deep Another in a series from our friends at Mighty Oregon. An interview with senior punter Jackson Rice By Dusty Ritter When Jackson Rice comes on the field to punt the Ducks are in good hands.  Rice’s knack for precision punts is a deadly weapon in the Oregon football arsenal. It’s not uncommon to see a Rice …