Beerchaser of the Quarter – Summer 2012 – Craig Hanneman — “The Dude”

The Dude

The Dude in Uniform in 1970 at OSU

According to the 2010 US census, Turner, Oregon had a population of 1,199.  In 1949, the population was not dramatically different .  Gas sold for 17 cents per gallon, the Dow Jones reached a high of 200, 45 RPM records and NATO were both rolled out.


Craig Hanneman was born in Salem.  He grew up in Turner and the population may have jumped by the equivalent of 2.5 people.  That’s because his accomplishments as an athlete, business executive and family man in the next 63 years would exceed what many individuals accomplish in a lifetime.

For those who are bored or with a morbid sense of curiosity, Turner was incorporated by the  Oregon Legislature in 1905 and has a total area of 1.6 square miles. Its motto – “The Good Neighbor Town.”

Incorporated in 1905

Craig recently stated, Turner had one sawmill and two taverns but no medical facility, so I was delivered in the big city of Salem. I went to Cascade Union H.S. for three years  but transferred to South Salem my senior year.”

Cascade Union High – Where Hanneman First Played on the Gridiron

Former OSU All-American tackle, Olympic wrestler and Craig’s future SAE fraternity brother, Jess “Froggie” Lewis, also went to Cascade Union High.

All American and Olympian

Hanneman’s taste for our favorite beer – “Blitz – at Price’s Tavern in Corvallis, helps to earn Craig (hereafter “The Dude”) the August Beerchaser of the MonthHowever, his off-season exploits at Prices and other long gone venues such as Don’s Den and The Peacock (it seems to be the only pub we frequented that is still around) are overshadowed by other contributions to his athletic teams, state and his recent high-profile exploit shown below:

Mt. Everest 29,029 Feet in Elevation

For in May, Craig become the first former (or for that matter, active) NBA or NFL player to successfully reach the summit of the world’s highest peak which equates to 2.6 times the elevation of Oregon’s Mt. Hood.

This 2012 Mt. Everest climb literally capped a mountaineering hobby started when Craig turned 50 and climbed Mt. St. Helens with football buddies, Mark Dippel, Scott Freeburn and Bob Jossis and includes reaching the top of Mt.McKinley in Alaska and Mt Vinson in Antarctica (and perhaps Mary’s Peak back in Corvallis.)

Accommodations on the Ascent

Thebeerchaser (known as “Dirt” in college) was privileged to be Craig’s SAE fraternity brother, and in 1969 was even his room-head in a four-person study room in which we became much better acquainted.  In college I was about 5″10″ and weighed 140 pounds dripping wet, so you can see by the relative comparison below that The Dude’s athletic prowess as a defensive tackle was due to speed, quickness and desire rather than bulk…..
“Dirt” (aka Thebeerchaser) and “Dude”
First let’s look at his athletic accomplishments:
Oregon State:  Defensive tackle from 1968 to 1970 under legendary Coach Dee Andros.  Some of the awards include Rookie of the Year and culminate with being named Team Captain and Most Valuable Defensive Player in 1970.  In the Cal game, he had 13 tackles!        
He was 2nd Team All American and First Team All Pac 10 and All Coast in addition to playing in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, the All America Bowl and the College All-Star Game.  In 1992, he was inducted into the OSU Athletic Hall of  Fame.
NFL: Although his career was relatively short (1972-76) because of injuries, he played for the Steelers in the 1972 Divisional Playoff Game against the Oakland Raiders – a contest most remembered for the “Immaculate Reception” by teammate, Franco Harris. The Dude’s anecdotes about Harris, Mean Joe Greene and Terry Bradshaw are very entertaining.  He also played two years for the Patriots.
Besides his Mt. Everest accomplishment, another “first” for the The Dude was in 1970 in Dr. Ed McGrath’s upper-division political science seminar .   That’s when he and teammate, Mark Dippel, a starting guard on the OSU Football Team, became McGrath’s first students to chew tobacco during class. McGrath, who was my advisor and always glared at me because I walked into class with the “chewers,” at least appreciated the fact that they used a pot-pie tin for the residue……..

Chew in the Context of Political Theory


His fraternity brothers will also remember the restraint he showed after being bitten in the shoulder (three stitches required) by a Sigma Chi center in the C-Team Intramural Basketball Championship Game at OSU.


Craig absorbed the lessons from Dr. McGrath’s and other classes at OSU because he had a very successful business and political career after his NFL Days.  Perhaps the best summary from the following excerpts in a testimonial by Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden, from the September 28,2008 Congressional Record:


“Hanneman didn’t exactly coast into the next chapter of his professional life when his football career concluded.   Craig owned and managed a 200 acre farm and forest operation in Polk County, Oregon for seven years after his NFL career, where he honed his expertise in the agricultural and natural resource arena.

Craig was elected County Commissioner of Polk County in 1985, and his determination and inclusive ways were instrumental in eliminating an inherited county budget deficit and establishing a $1 million reserve fund without levying new taxes

Throughout 12 years at Willamette Industries (as Director of Public Affairs), 2 years at the Weyerhaeuser Company (which bought Willamette Industries in 2002), and 5 years at Oregon Forestry Industry Council, Craig has achieved a tremendous list of accomplishments and established a sterling reputation throughout Oregon and his industry nationally as a highly effective and inspiring leader of great integrity.

 Madam Speaker, as you can see, Craig Hanneman is a special leader. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t note that Craig is also a great family man. Craig and his wife, Kathy, an educator, have been married for 34 years. Together they have raised three outstanding and successful children. Molly is a public servant here in our nation’s capital, Paul is an Army Staff Sergeant serving his second tour in Iraq, and Annie is a junior at Oregon State University.”                       

Tribute From a Republican Beaver…

However, let’s finish with a little bit more about the Mt. Everest climb.  I quickly learned when rooming with him in 1972, that Dude had an obsession with Dean Martin.  I learned, through endless repetition, the lyrics to “Thirty More Miles to San Diego” and “”Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” which to this day periodically return during night sweats.

And as a recent e-mail from Craig attests, it may have been some of the “conditioning” he got in Room 2 at the SAE house that helped him in  his climb:

“Okay, I’ll admit it, all those late night sessions playing “flinchies” (that’s another story…..)really hardened me up to climb Everest!   And to prove some things never change, you’ll be pleased to know I had plenty of Dean Martin tunes on my iPod Nano to help drown out the noisy wind at night.”                                              

Thirty More Miles to San Diego or 7,500 More Feet to the Summit…


Another climb issue worth noting was the MIA Flag that Craig carried and planted at the Summit.

“My son is an Army 10th SF Group guy and he and his team are very supportive of what the MIA flag stands for. So I flew it in Base Camp for over a month and carried three to the summit. I planted one and brought two down. I gave one to Paul’s 10th Group and the other I would like to give to a POW-MIA organization so they can have the first MIA flag that flew on top of the world to honor those who never returned.”

Craig and the Sherpa, Phunuru, plant the MIA Flag on the Summit


Mike, Heidi (fellow climbers) and Craig

Mt. Everest, Lhutsa and Nupte from Pomoroi

So What’s Next??

Who knows what the Dude plans to do next.  Based on his Everest Climb in 2012, however, and his trip to Pamplona, Spain in 2011, where he and four other former defensive lineman on the 1970 OSU Football team Ran with the Bulls, he’s not going to be passive.

The Dude, Scott Freeburn, Mark Dippel, Jim Sherbert and Bob Jossis drink beer after their run in Pamplona

SAE’s at OSU in 1969 (Hanneman 3rd Row up on Left)

6 thoughts on “Beerchaser of the Quarter – Summer 2012 – Craig Hanneman — “The Dude”

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  2. Great article Dirt…..I see the Dude quite a bit lately as Doug Hardesty has taken it upon himself to get a small group of us together on a somewhat regular basis.



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