CORVALLIS — An online petition started by some Oregon State football team's players to support the return of interim head coach Cory Hall next season was up over the weekend.
The petition, which is posted on www.ipetitions.com, had nearly 1,400 signatures as of Monday afternoon.
Here is the text of the petition:
"We, the players of the Oregon State football program, have decided to create a petition that clearly indicates we want Coach Hall to be the permanent head coach. We feel that he is best suited to lead us in all areas: physically, mentally, and spiritually. He knows the heart of this team and has connected with us in ways far beyond just football and just football players. As a team, we would follow this man through hell and back knowing we will be victorious. As you sign this petition you are joining your name together with history. Coach Hall will make this program into a national powerhouse, something it can and will be. Beaver Nation, thank you for your support and encouragement. Let's go #HaLLin and #KeepCoachHall."
Hall found out about the petition on Saturday morning while he was on a recruiting trip in Los Angeles.
"It touches me, it does, because it reminds me why I made the decision to leave a NFL career and begin to start to help young student-athletes," Hall said. "It's rewarding for me because when you hear things like that it doesn't matter, wins or losses, this is why we do it."
The program received a jolt of energy when Hall took over after the sudden departure of Gary Andersen following the USC game.
Hall was brought in prior to last season to coach the cornerbacks.
Hall has not yet won a game as the head coach of the Beavers, but the team pushed Colorado to the wire in a 36-33 loss and then most likely would have defeated then-No. 20 Stanford if it weren't for a lost fumble late in the game that enabled the Cardinal to pull out a 15-14 win.
"It's a tough spot to be in," Hall said. "You form a bond, which started last year, with these players. And now we are what we are with an uncertain future. You see a team who is starting to believe in themselves and they found whatever the pieces that they feel kind of connects them with the enjoyment and the fulfillment that this game brings. And you realize that yourself and your staff are a part of that."
Hall has been taking calls from former teammates and coaches from his college and NFL days as well as former Oregon State players and alumni.
He deflects the praise to his players.
"All the time it's about impacting the lives of people who deserve an opportunity in life that generally wouldn't have it if not for this sport. So when I found out about it, I felt good," he said. "And I didn't feel good for myself and I didn't feel good for the staff. I just felt good because I know how that feels to know that you're worth something as a player and as an athlete and that you feel like you found what you thought wasn't there over the course of the last three years."
Meanwhile, Hall has been recruiting players to come to Oregon State.
It's never an easy task to begin with and Hall is talking to the athletes about a program that does not have a coach set in stone for the future.
So Hall lets the athletes know that their commitment would be to Oregon State football, not to a coach.
He points to the current situation and how the players have been able to respond as an example of the direction of the program.
"They've gotten a taste of what football is and they have expanded their overall general knowledge of this sport over a short period of time, and it's not just about the Xs and Os — they have matured over a three-week span mentally. And they've kind of had to. There's kind of the whole you have to grow up fast because of a situation that you were forced into," Hall said.
"So I am reassuring recruits that your commitment to Oregon State is a commitment to a university, it's a commitment to a brotherhood, it's a commitment to a different kind of fraternity. And there is something special going on here at Oregon State and there's no one who can tell me anything different."