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Gary Beban
George Long/NFL/Getty Images

UCLA's Great One

1967 Heisman winner Gary Beban

"He's right behind me," Gary Beban says. Beban is on the phone from the study of his Chicago home. The "he" is the Heisman Trophy he won in 1967 as the quarterback at UCLA. Beban has gone on to tremendous professional success, helping make CB Richard Ellis a national real estate giant. But he knows that from mid-November through the first two weeks of December, his name is more likely to come up in discussions of the bronzed football player who sits in his study. And as the years go by, he's fine with that. "As time passes, the moments you played become a little more cherished and enjoyed," Beban said. "I've enjoyed becoming friends with the other winners, especially those to the left of the podium from me." To his left at the annual presentation are those who won the Heisman before 1967. "I collected picture cards of many of them as a kid," Beban said. When it was Beban's turn to stand in front of the nation and receive his Heisman, it was an interesting time. He was still stinging from losing a de facto national championship game to crosstown rival USC, 21-20 -- a game in which Beban brilliantly passed for 301 yards, but the Trojans prevailed on a 64-yard fourth-quarter run by O.J. Simpson (who would win the Heisman the next year). Beban remembers Vietnam protesters outside the Downtown Athletic Club. He remembers Howard Cosell co-hosting the event. He remembers his dad, Frank, wearing a tuxedo for the first time in his life. And whenever he needs a fresh reminder, Gary Beban can simply look over his shoulder in his study.
-- Pat Forde


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