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|Date of birth:February 15, 1947|
|Place of birth: Idaho Falls, Idaho, U.S.|
|High school: Borah (Boise, ID)|
|College: Oregon State|
|Undrafted in 1969|
|Debuted in 1969 for the New Orleans Saints|
|Last played in 1977 for the Seattle Seahawks|
Career NFL statistics
Steven Packer "Steve" Preece (born February 15, 1947) is a former professional football player, a defensive back in the NFL for 9 seasons, from 1969 to 1977. He played his college football at Oregon State, where he was a successful option quarterback.
Born in Idaho Falls, Preece grew up in Boise and played high school football at Borah High for legendary coach Ed Troxel, also his coach in track. At the talent-rich program, Preece had to wait his turn to play. Opened in 1958, Borah had won or tied for the conference title and mythical state title (writers' poll) in each of its first six years. Preece became the Lions' starting quarterback during his senior year in the fall of 1964. The Borah Lions were undefeated entering the final game against rival Boise on Veterans Day, but allowed the Braves to overcome a ten-point deficit in the second half to gain their first win in seven tries over Borah, and the Lions had to settle for second place for the first time in the conference and final state poll.
After graduating in 1965, Preece accepted a scholarship to Oregon State, recruited by linebackers coach Ed Knecht. Knecht had previously been the head coach at rival Boise High, and had connections in southwestern Idaho. Preece had great speed (10.0 in the 100 yard dash), and a good arm, a great fit for the option offense. Knecht had received a phone call warning him that a rival school was attempting to steal Preece away from the Beavers, so he promptly called new head coach Dee Andros with the news, to which Andros responded, "Get the $@%! over there. And if you don't get him, don't bother to come back." (Andros was previously the head coach at the University of Idaho. Knecht was a former assistant coach at Idaho and a future athletic director (1969–74).)
As a sophomore in 1966, Preece split time as the starting quarterback with senior Paul Brothers. After Brothers' graduation, Preece was the starter for the 1967 and 1968 seasons, and the Beavers compiled a 14-5-1 (.725) record. Included in this success was a win and a tie against UCLA, and a split with USC and O.J. Simpson. The Beavers won 3-0 in 1967, the Trojans won 17-13 in 1968 in Los Angeles.
The 1967 OSU football team finished with a record of 7-2-1 and a #7 ranking in the AP national poll. OSU defeated previous #1 USC in Corvallis, and #2 Purdue on the road, and tied #2 UCLA in Los Angeles, earning them the title of "The Giant Killers." OSU also beat the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road, but a mid-season lapse of consecutive losses to unranked teams severely damaged the Beavers' Rose Bowl chances and national ranking. OSU lost to the Washington Huskies in Seattle and BYU Cougars in Corvallis. Although OSU defeated USC, the Beavers wound up behind in the Pac-8 conference standings with a loss and a tie, USC defeated Indiana 14-3 in the Rose Bowl and was crowned national champion for the 1967 season. Oregon State did not play in a bowl game, due to conference rules; the Pac-8 did not allow a second bowl team until the 1975 season.
The 1968 Oregon State team went 7-3 and finished #15 in the nation.
Undrafted, Steve Preece signed a free agent NFL contract with the New Orleans Saints in 1969, not as a quarterback but as a defensive back. He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 1970 season, staying through 1971, and playing one game for them in 1972 before being traded to the Denver Broncos. In 1973 he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams, where he would play for four seasons, the last two as a back-up, the only time in his career. He played his last season in 1977 as a starter for the Seattle Seahawks, and had four interceptions. Following off-season surgery on his left knee, Preece announced his retirement in July 1978. As a pro, Preece played a role similar to Nolan Cromwell, a defensive back who held for place kicks and was available to play quarterback in an emergency; both had been option quarterbacks in college.
- "Steve Preece". NFL.com. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
- "Preece calls it quits". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. July 12, 1978. p. 2B.
- "Borah ends Boise dream; Cady stars". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. November 11, 1963. p. 14.
- "Boise rally stuns Borah". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. November 13, 1964. p. 16.
- "Boise grabs Idaho crown in last poll". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. November 14, 1964. p. 8.
- "Season of the Giant Killers". beaverblitz.com. Retrieved 2008-01-15.
- Go Vandals.com - Ed Knecht - accessed 2012-03-09
- "Beavers win 3rd straight". Eugene Register-Guard. October 30, 1966. p. 1B.
- Uhrhammer, Jerry (October 21, 1966). "Soph QB's the vogue". Eugene Register-Guard. p. 2B.
- "Beaver fumbles aid Husky win". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. October 9, 1967. p. 13.
- Tri-City Herald - Brigham Young air assault drops Oregon State, 31-13 - 1967-10-15 - p.25
- Season of the Giant Killers - Oregon State - 1967
- CFB Data Warehouse Oregon State results 1965-69
- Sports-Reference.com: Steve Preece collegiate statistics
- Final AP Poll - 1967 season
- Final AP Poll - 1968 season
- Career statistics and player information from NFL.com • Pro-Football-Reference • Databasefootball.com