Joe Francis
As a collegian at Oregon State, circa 1957
No. 20
Position:Quarterback, Halfback
Personal information
Born:(1936-04-21)April 21, 1936
Honolulu, Hawaii
Died:April 15, 2013(2013-04-15) (aged 76)
Kaneohe, Hawaii
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school:Kamehameha Schools
(Honolulu, Hawaii)
College:Oregon State
NFL Draft:1958 / Round: 5 / Pick: 51
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at · PFR

Joseph Charles Naekauna Francis Jr. (April 21, 1936 – April 15, 2013) was an American football halfback and quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) and the Canadian Football League (CFL). Following his playing career, he was a high school football head coach in his native Hawaii.[1][2]

Early years

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii,[3] Francis attended Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu and starred in football and graduated in 1954.

Francis played college football in the Pacific Coast Conference at Oregon State College in Corvallis, where he was a left halfback from 1954 to 1957 for head coaches Kip Taylor and Tommy Prothro.[3] As a junior in 1956, Francis led the Beavers to the Rose Bowl, where they lost to Iowa, 35–19.[4][5] He rushed for 73 yards[3] and contributed 207 yards of total offense in the losing effort.[6]

Francis was named the team MVP for the 1956 and 1957 seasons.[6] He won the Pop Warner Trophy as the outstanding senior player on the Pacific Coast,[7][8] and the Hayward Award as the outstanding amateur athlete in the state of Oregon in 1957.[3][9][10] Oregon State was Coast champion again with Oregon, whom they defeated in the Civil War in Eugene,[11] but the PCC had a no-repeat clause for the Rose Bowl, so the Webfoots went instead.

Playing career

Francis was selected in the fifth round of the 1958 NFL Draft, 51st overall, by the Green Bay Packers.[3][12][13][14] This was one of the top drafts by a team in NFL history; ahead of Francis, the Packers selected linebacker Dan Currie (3rd), fullback Jim Taylor (15th), linebacker Ray Nitschke (36th), and guard Jerry Kramer (39th).[15]

As a rookie in 1958 under first-year head coach Ray "Scooter" McLean, Francis started one game as quarterback, the season finale,[16] and played behind Babe Parilli and Bart Starr in the Packers' worst-ever season, finishing with a league low 1–10–1. McLean's one-year contract was not renewed; he resigned days after the season and was succeeded in January 1959 by Vince Lombardi. Francis saw limited action that season, relieving starter Lamar McHan on November 1, then didn't play again, as Starr became the starter.[2] Francis broke his left leg early in training camp in 1960, ending his season,[17][18] then incurred a knee injury in an intrasquad game in 1961, and was waived.[19]

Francis then played 1½ seasons in the Canadian Football League (CFL) with the Montreal Alouettes in 1961 and 1962.[20] He was sidelined most of 1961 and had off-season knee surgery.[21]

After football

Upon retiring from pro football, Francis returned to Corvallis and was an assistant at Oregon State under head coach Prothro in 1963 and 1964.[1][22][23] He then returned to Hawaii to become a physical education teacher and football coach at Pearl City High School,[3] and retired in 2001.[6]

Personal life

Francis married three times and fathered eleven children: nine sons and two daughters.

A son, Jon Francis (b.1964), played running back for Colorado State in the WAC and Boise State in the Big Sky Conference. He was selected in the seventh round (184th overall) of the 1986 NFL draft by the New York Giants and played for the Los Angeles Rams in 1987. Another son, Ikaika Alama-Francis (b.1984), was a defensive end for the University of Hawaii and was selected in the second round (58th overall) of the 2007 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. He played five seasons in the league, two with Detroit and three with the Miami Dolphins.

Death and honors

After an extended illness, Francis died at his Kaneohe home at age 76 in 2013.[1][3]

He was elected to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.[24]


  1. ^ a b c "Joseph Charles Naekauna "Joe" Francis, Jr". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. (obituary). April 30, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Christl, Cliff (November 27, 2002). "Whatever happened to: Joe Francis?". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 3C.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Former OSU Halfback Dies," Corvallis [OR] Gazette-Times, April 30, 2013; pg. B1.
  4. ^ Strite, Dick (January 2, 1957). "Hawks hammer Beavers, 39-19, in Rose Bowl". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 2B.
  5. ^ Boni, Bill (January 2, 1957). "Hawkeyes humble OSC, 35 to 19; 'It's all over' after 8 minutes". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 14.
  6. ^ a b c Can Joe Francis Start at Quarterback Today?
  7. ^ "Joe Francis given award". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. January 29, 1958. p. 12B.
  8. ^ "Packers sign Joe Francis". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. February 20, 1958. p. 1D.
  9. ^ Strite, Dick (February 7, 1958). "Oregon State's Joe Francis named athlete of year at Hayward banquet". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 3B.
  10. ^ "Francis named Oregon's top athlete of 1957". Bend Bulletin. Oregon. United Press. February 7, 1958. p. 3.
  11. ^ Strite, Dick (November 24, 1957). "OSC forces UO to share PCC title". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). p. 1B.
  12. ^ "Packers lose flip, take Joe Francis". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. January 28, 1958. p. 13, part 2.
  13. ^ Lea, Bud (January 29, 1958). "Packers get Jarock, two 'tossing' QBs". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 4, part 2.
  14. ^ "NFL drafts 4 Oregonians". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 29, 1958. p. 3B.
  15. ^ Wolf, Bob (May 3, 1979). "Packers' 1958 draft may have been greatest ever". Milwaukee Journal. p. 3, part 3.
  16. ^ "Joe Francis gets big chance against L A Rams". Bend Bulletin. Oregon. UPI. December 13, 1958. p. 3.
  17. ^ "Packers' Joe Francis suffers leg fracture". Milwaukee Journal. July 30, 1960. p. 12.
  18. ^ "Packers lose Joe Francis". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. July 31, 1960. p. 2, sports.
  19. ^ "Joe Francis bitter at cut by Packers". Milwaukee Journal. UPI. September 6, 1961. p. 21, part 2.
  20. ^ "Beavers in the Pros" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-08. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  21. ^ "Halter approves Alouette trade". Montreal Gazette. June 7, 1962. p. 26.
  22. ^ "Trimble wants double job". Ottawa Citizen. Canadian Press. February 1, 1963. p. 18.
  23. ^ Strite, Dick (January 13, 1965). "Changes roughest on aides". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 1C.
  24. ^ "Joseph Charles Naekauna 'Joe' Francis Jr.," Oldest Living Pro Football Players,