Oregon State Mourns The Loss Of Jimmy Anderson

CORVALLIS – Oregon State Athletics mourns the loss of former men’s basketball player and coach Jimmy Anderson, as he passed away Monday at the age of 86.

Anderson became part of the Beaver basketball family in 1956, when the Hoquiam, Wash., native transferred to then-Oregon State College for his sophomore season following a standout freshman year at Grays Harbor Junior College in nearby Aberdeen.

Following his three-year playing career, Anderson coached the freshman team and assisted head coach Slats Gill for three years. He took a two-year break in 1963 and 1964 to coach at Newberg High School, but he returned in 1965, this time for good.

From there he moved through a number of roles, as he evolved from player to freshman coach to varsity assistant to head coach to unofficial program ambassador. Throughout all of those transitions, Anderson worked in the pursuit of excellence and continued to give his all to the orange and black.

A 2015 inductee into the Oregon State Athletics Hall of Fame, Anderson’s story is intertwined with that of many Beaver greats. He won the Pacific Coast Conference Championship as a player under Gill, won a Pac-8 Conference title as an assistant for Paul Valenti, and claimed four Pac-10 championships as an assistant coach under Ralph Miller.

After taking over as head coach in 1990, Anderson immediately continued the success of his predecessors, winning a conference title his first season, on his way to Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors. 

All told Anderson was part of 576 wins in his 37 years with the Beavers. Teams he either played for, or coached on, won 17 Far West Classic championships.

He recruited/coached All-Americans Mel Counts, Jim Jarvis, Mark Radford, Steve Johnson, Lester Conner, Charlie Sitton, A.C. Green, Jose Ortiz, Gary Payton and Brent Barry; AAWU all-star Charlie White; Pac-8 all-stars Lonnie Shelton, Rocky Smith and Ricky Lee, and Pac-10 all-stars Ray Blume, Teo Alibegovic and Scott Haskin.

Anderson retired after the 1995-96 season, ending his 37-year association with OSU as a student or employee. After that he became an informal ambassador for the men’s basketball team under numerous coaches, attending games and practices and connecting with alumni and other fans to further the cause of a program he deeply loved.

Details on a memorial service for Coach Anderson will made public when available.