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Gary Beban
Jersey #(s)
Born August 5, 1946 (1946-08-05) (age 63)
San Francisco, California
Career information
Year(s) 19681969
NFL Draft 1968 / Round: 2 / Pick: 30
College UCLA
Professional teams
Career stats
TD-INT 0-0
Yards 0
QB Rating 39.6
Stats at
Career highlights and awards

Gary Joseph Beban (born August 5, 1946 in Redwood City, California) is a former American football player. Son of an Italian-born mother and a first generation Croatian-American father, Beban won the 1967 Heisman Trophy[1], the most prestigious award in college football, and the Maxwell Award, while playing quarterback for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins.


UCLA Bruins quarterback

Beban, known as "The Great One", excelled in both academics and athletics, majoring in European history while quarterbacking the Bruins across three straight victorious seasons. As UCLA quarterback, he was named to the all-conference team three times, and led the Bruins to a 24-5-2 record. His school record for total offense lasted 15 years. As a sophomore, he threw two touchdown passes in the last four minutes to rally the Bruins over crosstown arch-rival, USC, 20-16.[2][3] In the 1966 Rose Bowl, Beban scored both UCLA's touchdowns in the Bruin's 14-12 victory over #1 ranked Michigan State.[4] [5] [6]

In his senior year, Beban played in the 1967 USC vs. UCLA football game, widely regarded as one of the best college football games of all time. The game pitted #4 AP/#2 UPI ranked USC and their Heisman Trophy-candidate running back O.J. Simpson, against the #1 ranked Bruins and Beban—also a Heisman Trophy candidate—with both the AAWU and National championships, to say nothing of hometown bragging rights, on the line. Badly injured with torn rib cartilage and in great pain, Beban still threw for over 300 yards and two touchdown passes to lead the Bruins in scoring. Though USC eventually won the game, 21-20, by the margin of a blocked PAT, and went on to the Rose Bowl, Gary Beban would go on to win the Heisman Trophy. Both Beban and Simpson were featured on the cover of the November 20 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine [7][8]. Commenting on Beban's heroic effort playing through injury, famed L.A. Times columnist Jim Murray wrote that if "Gary Beban wins the Heisman Trophy, they ought to fill it with aspirin"[9]

In addition to the '67 Heisman, Beban was unanimously named to the All-America Team, won the Maxwell Trophy (given annually to the college football player judged best in the United States by a committee of college head coaches, sportscasters, sportswriters, and members of the Maxwell Football Club), and was awarded the Washington Touchdown Club Trophy and the 1967 W.J. Voit Memorial Trophy as the outstanding football player on the Pacific Coast. Beban was also named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, and received the Dolly Cohen award, given to the player best combining academic and football achievement.

UCLA became the first school to have a top winner in both basketball and football in the same year with Gary Beban winning the Heisman Trophy and Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) winning the U.S. Basketball Writers Association player of the year award in 1968. For one shining week in November, 1967, UCLA had the #1 ranked Football team and Men's Basketball team, with the astounding chance of landing national championships in both sports. Such remained unprecedented until Florida actually collected both crowns in 2006. UCLA basketball did ultimately garner the basketball championship that season.

In 1991, Beban was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame and is a charter member of the UCLA Hall of Fame with retired #16..

Though the UCLA football program has turned out dozens of highly successful NFL players through the years, including Troy Aikman, Bob Waterfield, Mel Farr, Billy Kilmer, Jay Schroeder, Freeman McNeil, Steve Bono, John Sciarra, Jamir Miller, Donnie Edwards, Jerry Robinson, Kermit Alexander, Dave Dalby, Jonathan Ogden, Cade McNown, Carnell Lake, Ken Norton, Jr., Kenny Easley, Tommy Maddox and Maurice Jones-Drew, Gary Beban was — and still remains — the only Bruin to win the Heisman.

Professional career

After graduating from UCLA, Beban played in the NFL for the Washington Redskins in 1968 and 1969—but, sitting behind veteran quarterback and future NFL Hall-of-Famer Sonny Jurgensen, Beban was not given much game time, and the professional stardom portended by his college career was not forthcoming. In 1970, Gary Beban retired from professional football.

Post-NFL career

In 1971, Beban joined the Los Angeles office of CB Richard Ellis, a global real estate services company. Beginning in 1975, he worked to establish offices in the Chicago area. Beban was named president and general manager of the company in 1985, and in 1998 became senior executive managing director of the company's Global Corporate Services unit. For several years in the 70's, he also provided unique color commentary for UCLA football telecasts..

In 2007, Beban participated in the national UCLA alumni commercial entitled "My Big UCLA Moment." The UCLA commercial is featured on YouTube.

In 2009, UCLA scheduled a special "Throwback Jersey" day in honor of Heisman Trophy Winner Gary Beban for the UCLA-Washington homecoming game at the Rose Bowl, where the team dressed in the resplendid powder blue and white shoulder stripe jerseys with pure gold helmets (no decals)of UCLA's storied days of Beban's great '65-'66-67 seasons, uniforms first devised by the legendary coach Red Sanders for his national power teams of the 50's, including the 1954 National Championship team. Fans were able to purchase Beban's #16 jersey to wear en masse that day.

External links


  1. ^ Prugh, Jeff - GARY BEBAN WINS HEISMAN TROPHY - BRUINS' BEBAN WINS HEISMAN TROPHY. Los Angeles Times, November 29, 1967. Quote:It all began on an asphalt playground in San Francisco and it culminated Tuesday afternoon when UCLA's Gary Beban was voted winner of the 1967 Heisman Trophy, which is awarded annually by New York's Downtown Athletic Club to the nation's most outstanding college football player.
  2. ^ UCLA Athletics: 1964-1965
  3. ^ L.A.'s greatest moments 100 greatest #35 1965: Bruin sophomore Gary Beban heaves fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Dick Witcher and Kurt Altenberg to stun USC and Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett, 20-16.
  4. ^ Al Wolf - Bruin Crowd Brimming With Joy...It's 'Everybody's Win'. Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, California. January 2, 1966
  5. ^ Larry Sharkey; Ben Olender; Joe Kennedy - Bruins Perform Surgery on Spartans' Line. Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, California. January 2, 1966
  6. ^ Bruins Won It Easily. Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, California. January 2, 1966
  7. ^ USC VS. UCLA: SHOWDOWN IN L.A. - Sports Illustrated November 20, 1967 (Cover)
  8. ^ Article:The Great One Confronts O.J. Sports Illustrated, November 20, 1967, Volume 27, Issue 21
  9. ^ Murray, Jim - The REAL Gary Beban. Los Angeles Times, November 28, 1967
Preceded by
Steve Spurrier
Heisman Trophy Winner
Succeeded by
O.J. Simpson


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