Bill Musgrave gets award from Oregon

Bill Musgrave set 15 school passing records at the University of Oregon and is generally regarded as the quarterback who triggered the Ducks’ success over the past 25 years.

Friday night in Eugene, Ore., Musgrave, a 1986 graduate of Grand Junction High School, received the Leo Harris Award from the university. He’ll be recognized during the Ducks’ game tonight against Arizona.

Musgrave, 44, is in his second year as the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, his 20th year as a player or coach in the NFL.

The Leo Harris Award, named for Oregon’s first athletic director, is given to a former Oregon letterman who has been out of college for at least 20 years and has “demonstrated continued service and leadership to the university,” according to a story on Oregon’s website,

Bill and his younger brother, Doug, both won the Denver Post Gold Helmet award as senior quarterbacks for the Tigers — Doug led Grand Junction to the 1988 state title; Bill’s team lost in the state title game his senior year — and both played at Oregon. Doug transferred after starting his career at Michigan.

Bill Musgrave was a four-year starting quarterback at Oregon and team captain for three years.

He threw 60 touchdown passes and holds Oregon’s career passing (8,343 yards) and total offense (8,140 yards) records. Musgrave completed 57.4 percent of his passes in his four years and had a 25-10 record in games he started and finished.

He was the second player in Pacific-10 history, following Stanford’s John Elway, to throw 60 TDs and throw for more than 8,000 yards in his career.

Musgrave, who entered Oregon’s Hall of Fame in 2000, led the Ducks to the Independence Bowl in 1989 and the Freedom Bowl in 1990, becoming the first QB to take Oregon to back-to-back bowl games in school history. The Independence Bowl was Oregon’s first bowl game in 26 years.

Off the field, he was just as successful, as a Rhodes Scholar candidate and the GTE Academic All-American of the Year in 1990.

The fourth-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys was traded to San Francisco, where he was on the Super Bowl championship team after the 1994 season. He also backed up Elway in Denver from 1995–96.

In his NFL coaching career, Musgrave has worked with Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, Washington’s Mark Brunell, Jacksonville’s Fred Taylor, Carolina’s Steve Beuerlein and now running back Adrian Peterson and quarterback Christian Ponder with the Vikings.

Musgrave and his wife, Neely, have four children.


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