OSU: Andros dead at 79

Updated: October 22, 2003, 9:19 PM ET

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Dee Andros, who coached some of the biggest wins in Oregon State football history, died early Wednesday at the age of 79.

Andros suffered from severe diabetes and had had several strokes, said Hal Cowan, Oregon State's sports information director. Andros died at his Corvallis home.

Andros, nicknamed "The Great Pumpkin" for his trademark girth and bright orange jacket, was synonymous with Oregon State football for decades. Later in life, when he lost weight following open-heart surgery, he joked that he was now better known as "The Little Squash."

"It's a tremendous loss," Cowan said. "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 was OSU's athletic director from 1975 until his retirement in 1985 and coached the Beavers from 1965 to 1975.

"Dee is one of the reasons why people love Oregon State so much," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. "We are all proud to represent a university and team that Coach Andros has been associated with for 40 years."

Andros is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame and the Oregon State University Sports Hall of Fame.

A native Oklahoman, Andros never lost his accent and was a lineman on Oklahoma teams coached by Hall of Famer Bud Wilkinson. He went on to be an assistant coach under Wilkinson.

Andros, whose full name was Demosthenes Konstandies Andrecopoulos, was also a veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star, and spent more than a month under fire on Iwo Jima, one of the last major battles of World War II. He was a witness to the famed moment when six soldiers raised the flag on Iwo Jima.

Andros is best known for the 1967 season, when the Beavers defeated O.J. Simpson and No. 1 Southern California in a game that earned them the nickname of the "Giant Killers." USC didn't lose again that season and won the national championship.

OSU wound up going 7-2-1 that year, also beating second-ranked Purdue and tying highly ranked UCLA.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index