A Place in Time

Mike Hass

Photo courtesy of Oregon State University Athletics

Mike Hass finds daylight in a game against LSU on Sept. 4, 2004. The Beavers lost 22-21 in overtime against the defending national champions. 

By now, most diehard Beavers fans know that Mike Hass, B.S. civil engineering ’06, was recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame — one of only three Oregon State players who have earned the high honor. The path he took to get there could have gone straight through Hollywood. 

Open with a scene of Mike and his wife, Rebecca, on their honeymoon in Jamaica, relaxing after dinner and gazing out over the Caribbean. That’s when Scott Barnes, Oregon State’s athletic director, called to tell them about the hall of fame. 

“I was in a state of disbelief,” Hass said. “It means everything to me.”

Flashback to Jesuit High School in Beaverton, where Hass played wide receiver and defensive back. He left a trail of shattered records and was considered one of the best high school players in Oregon. In a quarterfinal playoff game during his senior year, Hass caught five first-half touchdown passes and added two on defense. No one’s ever done that before or since. The team went on to win the 4A state championship. 

In a rational world, the football scholarships would have rolled in. But they didn’t — not a single one, not even from second- or third-tier programs. 

“I’m still baffled by that. You’d think someone would find a spot for me,” Hass said. 

He never quit. Focusing on Oregon State because he wanted to study civil engineering, with or without football, Hass made the team as a walk-on.

The rest is written in the university’s record books:

  • All-time leader in career receiving yards, with 3,924
  • Three 1,000-yard seasons 
  • 1,532 yards in 2005, second most in history; 1,379 yards in 2004, third most in history 
  • Two of the university’s four top single-game receiving yardage performances
  • The most 100-yard games in history (nine)
  • The 2005 Fred Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top receiver in college football

Every year, he set new goals. First, get onto the field. Next, play on offense. Then it was a scholarship, then All-Pac 10, then All-American, then a national award, then an engineering degree, then the NFL. He reached them all. 

Today, Hass is a project manager for Pacific GeoSource, a pavement design and engineering company that works with cities, counties, and departments of transportation. His territory stretches from California’s South Bay to the Canadian border.

“I definitely draw on my engineering knowledge,” he said. “I work with engineers, and I have to know how to speak their language. I still remember a lot of what I learned about materials and structures.”

Hass readily shares credit for his success — with his coaches and his teammates, of course, but also his teachers. He singled out his academic advisor, Sandy Jameson, who calls Hass “an outstanding young man.” Jameson retired from Oregon State in March. 

Final scene: Reser Stadium, October 2022, Oregon State vs. Washington State. Mike Hass and his 5-year-old son, Logan, standing on the field, waving at the crowd, who cheer in appreciation of his remarkable achievements. 

And, of course, the Hollywood ending: The Beavers won the game.

March 28, 2023