Oregon State basketball is making headlines and Terry Baker must be excited.
Baker, our 1962 winner, is the only Heisman Trophy recipient to play in an NCAA Tournament Final Four. As a 1962-63 senior, he helped lead the Oregon State hoops team to three wins – against Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona State – en route to reaching national semifinals. (The Beavers ultimately fell to top seed and two-time defending champion Cincinnati and to Duke in the third-place game).
Now, the Beavers have another shot to match Baker’s 1963 team.
Just Saturday, Baker’s beloved Beavers completed an improbable run in the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament as a No. 5 seed – upsetting No. 4 seed UCLA, No. 1 seed Oregon and No. 3 seed Colorado – to win their first conference tournament title in program history and earn just their second NCAA Tournament berth in 31 years.
The Beavers, with the Pac-12’s automatic bid, earned a No. 12 seed and will square off against No. 5 seed Tennessee.
Which reminds us that Baker has been part of five of Oregon State’s 12 NCAA Tournament wins.
Baker, who originally went to Oregon State on a basketball scholarship, played three seasons for the Beavers basketball team, averaging 7.4 points as a sophomore. As a 1961-62 junior, he averaged 10.7 points per game and helped Oregon State reach the NCAA quarterfinals with wins over Seattle and Pepperdine.
In the fall of 1962, Baker led Oregon State to a 9-2 season capped by his Heisman win and a 6-0 Liberty Bowl victory over Villanova in which his NCAA record 99-yard TD run was the only score. While his team stayed back in Philadelphia to enjoy the win, Baker flew back to Oregon to join the Beavers hoops team for his season year.
He started 16 games as a senior point guard and averaged 13.4 points, second most on the team. During the NCAA Tournament run, he scored 21 points in the win over San Francisco and 15 in the Western Regional final win over Arizona State.
Click below for an interview with Baker detailing his hoops and football career on the Pac-12 Network.