Dee Andros, longtime football coach and athletic director at Oregon State University, died Wednesday at the age of 79. He had suffered from diabetes and had had several strokes, a university spokesman said.
Andros was perhaps best-known for leading the “Giant Killers,” as his 1967 team was called, to victory over eventual national champion USC, which was led by running back O.J. Simpson. Oregon State also defeated second-ranked Purdue and tied UCLA, finishing the ’67 season with a 7-2-1 record.
“It’s a tremendous loss,” Hal Cowan, Oregon State’s sports information director, said of Andros’ death. “He’s a great ambassador for Oregon sports, he’s touched a lot of people past and present. I don’t think there’s any name more associated with Oregon State football than Andros.”
Andros coached the Beavers from 1965 to 1975, then served as athletic director for the next 10 years, until his retirement.
Nicknamed “the Great Pumpkin” because he was overweight and wore a jacket in the bright orange of Oregon State, Andros also worked as a fund-raiser for the school’s athletic department. Late in his life, after undergoing open-heart surgery and losing weight, Andros joked that he had become “the Little Squash.”
“Dee is one of the reasons why people love Oregon State so much,” football Coach Mike Riley said of Andros, whose full name was Demosthenes Konstandies Andrecopoulos.
“We are all proud to represent a university and team that Coach Andros has been associated with for 40 years,” he said.
Born in Oklahoma, Andros was a lineman for the Sooners under legendary University of Oklahoma Coach Bud Wilkinson.
He got his start in coaching as one of Wilkinson’s assistants. He later became the head coach at Idaho before coaching at Oregon State.
Andros served in World War II in the Marines, earning the Bronze Star. He spent more than a month under fire on Iwo Jima and witnessed the famous moment when six Marines raised the American flag on the Pacific island.
He is survived by his wife, Luella; daughter, Jeanna; and grandson, Nicky.
Times wire services contributed to this report.