Jim Shanley, a member of the initial class of the North Bend High School Hall of Fame and a legend for the Bulldogs and later Oregon Ducks, died recently in Eugene.
Shanley was a three-sport star for the Bulldogs and later scored the lone touchdown for the Ducks in the 1958 Rose Bowl. He died July 10 in Eugene at the age of 82.
A private family burial service will be held Saturday at Sunset Memorial Park in Coos Bay and a memorial service will be held at a later date in Eugene.
“Jim was kind of an icon in North Bend and he was such a humble guy,” said his brother, Dick Shanley. “He had a great career. I think he was probably one of the best and well-known athletes to come out of North Bend High School.”
Shanley starred for the Bulldogs in football, basketball and track and field. He scored 24 touchdowns his junior year and 15 his senior season and was an all-state selection and picked to play in the Shrine Game.
That’s where he met Norm Chapman from Medford, his future co-captain on both Oregon’s freshman team and later the Rose Bowl teams.
“I like to say our influences made a difference,” Chapman said. “Other people may argue that.”
Shanley and Chapman formed a tight bond, along with another North Bend Hall of Famer and member of the Ducks, Will Reeve, who was a year behind them in school.
Shanley’s accomplishments for the Ducks led to him being chosen for the University of Oregon Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.
He was a three-time Pacific Coast Conference all-league selection and was an All-American for the Ducks, despite his short stature — he stood just 5 feet, 8 inches tall.
He made Oregon’s top-10 career lists in rushing, scoring, all-purpose running and punting and kickoff return yards.
Because of his size, he went undrafted in the NFL, but he played one season for the Green Bay Packers, returning kicks and punts.
After his time in the NFL, he became a high school teacher and coach, and later was an assistant coach at Washington State University for a number of years. When his coaching days were done, he became a successful insurance agent.
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“Anything Jim did, any time anywhere, he competed,” Chapman said. “He got out of coaching, he became a leading agent with Northern Mutual Life. He rose to the top. He was going to be the best he could be, and he was.”
Shanley and Chapman played in a different era, when the players rarely came off the field. When Oregon wasn’t on offense, Shanley was a cornerback (Chapman was the team’s center and a linebacker).
“When you think of 700 yards or 800 yards (rushing) in the season, that’s pretty special,” Chapman said, adding that he was a stellar cornerback as well.
“He was the type that he didn’t get fooled,” Chapman said. “He was a great one-on-one type of guy because he was a great competitor. He was not going to be the guy who got beat. He was just determined.”
He later coached the defensive backs at Washington State — Chapman got to coach against his close friend when he was as assistant for the Ducks.
But Shanley was more widely known for his rushing prowess, including scoring the touchdown in Oregon’s 10-7 loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
“He would get hit and the next thing you know, he would still be going because his balance was unbelievable,” Dick Shanley said. “That’s what made him so special, in addition to his work ethic.”
Dick remembered his brother running from their home near Bangor School in North Bend to his job at a mill in Empire in work boots in the morning and then to another mill in another part of town in the evening during the summers.
He said Shanley was a great model for both his brothers, Dick and Jack, who graduated from Marshfield and also both played for the Ducks.
“He was the best big brother in the world,” Dick said. “He always took care of me.
“I got to hang out with all his teammates. I had 40 big brothers.”
Shanley and Chapman became close friends from their first meeting in the Shrine Game. When they realized neither had a roommate for their freshman year at Oregon, they decided to live together.
“We got to talking and becoming buddies up there (at the Shrine game),” he said. “It worked out and it worked out for 60 years.”