Farewell to Oregon State legend Bill Enyart

LEGENDARY OREGON STATE football player Bill “Earthquake” Enyart passed away Tuesday morning after a battle with cancer, the OSU SID said in a release. Enyart, born April 28, 1947 in Pawhuska, Okla., was 67-years-old.

After spending his first season on the rookie team, Enyart played varsity football for the Beavers from 1966-68. He was part of the iconic 1967 “Giant Killers,” who went 7-2-1 with victories over No. 1 USC, No. 2 Purdue and a tie vs. No. 2 UCLA.

Enyart was inducted into the Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. In May 2011, he was selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

In his senior season in '68, the linebacker-turned-running back set the school record with 1,304 yards rushing while scoring 17 touchdowns. Against Utah, he carried the ball 50 times for 299 hashes and 3 touchdowns.

Enyart graduated from Medford High, helping the Black Tornado to a state title before coming to Oregon State.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011 joining former Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker as the only Beaver players to be enshrined. He was a member of one of the first classes to be inducted into the OSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and added the State of Oregon Sports Hall of Fame honor in 2003.

John Eggers, the former OSU sports information director, gave Enyart his iconic nickname owing to his punishing style of running the football.

“As a person, no one was more concerned, considerate and friendly,” said Enyart’s OSU teammate, QB Steve Preece. “He was before his time as an advocate and activist; a brilliant mind. He always seemed to have a great idea that we’d all wait to hear.”

Enyart had an illustrious career, earning first team All-America honors in 1968 and First Team Pacific-8 Conference honors in 1967 and ‘68. He also was a standout in the classroom, twice earning Academic All-America.

For his career he rushed for 2,155 yards, currently the seventh-most ever by a Beaver. He still holds single game rushing records for yards (299) and carries (50) against Utah on Sept. 28, 1968. In that same game he also tied a school record with four rushing touchdowns.

“'Earthquake' epitomized team first, unselfish football,” Preece added. “He wanted the ball, the chance, the opportunity, the responsibility in every situation on the field. Bill was maybe the TOUGHEST guy I ever played with - and maybe the most competitive – in any sport. I’ll always remember the gash on his nose, blood spewing, mud everywhere, Buff snarling ... that was Buff!”

Following his OSU career he played in several college all-star games and earned the Hula Bowl MVP honors. He was a second round pick of the Buffalo Bills (27th overall) in the NFL Draft and played two seasons before an injury ended his career as a member of the Oakland Raiders in 1971.

Enyart lived in Bend most of his life following his football career, and worked for the State of Oregon.

He is survived by his mother, Betty Enyart-Harty; children Ben and Eliza; sisters Marcia Shuch and Jodi Hines; and his former wife, JoAnn Grant.

Memorial services are pending.


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