The honors keep rolling in for former high school, collegiate and professional football star Frank Andruski.
The most recent plaudits arrived Oct. 3 on the campus of Santa Ana, Calif. Junior College campus where the 66-year-old Payson man was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Andruski starred in football at Santa Ana J.C. in 1961 and 1962 as a defensive back.
In 1962, he co-captained the team to the Junior Rose Bowl championship whipping Washington Columbia Basin J.C. The victory capped a 10-0 season.
Andruski also anchored a Don defense, which held opponents to a school record 4.3 points per game.
“One of my teammates on that team, Ed Arnold, is now a sportscaster in Southern California and was the emcee at the (Hall of Fame) induction,” he said.
In addition to starring in football at the Southern California junior college, Andruski once held the school’s high jump record with a leap of 6 feet, 5 inches.
“It was broke the year after I left by a guy who went over 7 feet; he shattered my record,” Andruski said.
In addition to being inducted into Santa Ana’s Hall of Fame, Andruski will enter the Brea-Olinda High School Hall of Fame during ceremonies set for Nov. 6.
As a student-athlete at the school he was an all-region selection in football and basketball and a record-setting high jumper.
The inductions into the junior college and high school halls of fame were preceded in 2008, by Andruski’s introduction into the prestigious Calgary Stampeders Wall of Fame for his accomplishments as a Canadian Football League star.
Only 25 former Stampeders have been inducted into the Wall of Fame that also includes legendary quarterback Doug Flute.
After graduating from Santa Ana college, Andruski accepted a football scholarship to the University of Utah were he played two years, also as a defensive back.
After his senior season, he was drafted by the 49ers and spent one season with the San Francisco team before departing for a long career in the Canadian Football League.
Andruski, who wore No. 24 while playing defensive back for the Stampeders from 1966 to 1973, continues to hold several slots in the team’s record book.
His 30 interceptions rank him fourth in team history and his four interception returns for touchdowns ties him for second.
In 1973, his 204 yards gained after interceptions led the Canadian Football League and remains tops in Stampeder history.
Also, his 105-yard interception return for a TD in 1973 is the seventh longest return by a Calgary player.
In the 1970 Grey Cup game against Montreal, he had two interceptions and he’s listed in the CFL record books for blocking four kicks in his career.
Obviously modest about his gridiron accomplishments, Andruski will only deadpan, “I had a pretty good career, I’m proud of it.”
In reflecting on his time in the Canadian pro ranks he remembers it was his instincts rather than natural talent that helped him succeed.
“I think it was my knowledge of the game,” he said. “I never thought of myself as particularly fast, but I studied the game and knew it well.”
That gridiron moxie led to a very successful 23-year career in coaching high school football after he retired from the CFL.
Most impressively about Andruski’s time in the CFL is that almost 35 years after his retirement, he remains one of the top six players in nine different categories at his position.
During Andruski’s eight seasons in the CFL, he was named to the Canadian All-Star football team in 1967 and 1968 and was a CFL Western Division All-Star six times. He also played on three teams that reached the Grey Cup, Canadian football’s equivalent of the Super Bowl.
In 1971, he led Calgary to the Grey Cup championship.
After retiring from the CFL he earned a master’s degree in education from Arizona State University and taught and coached at a high school near San Diego, Calif. with a student population of more than 3,000.
After stepping away from his career in education, he and his wife lived for a short time in El Centro, Calif. before moving to Payson.
“We love living here, it was always our goal to someday live in Payson,” he said.