Pride on his sleeve: to wear OSU gear for 15 years

Josh Worden, Senior Beat Reporter

OSU alum Marvin Yonamine has worn OSU clothing every day for 15 years

Marvin Yonamine has worn Beaver shirts every day for more than 15 consecutive years. Not one day since Jan. 1, 2001 has he failed to don an OSU logo.

When Yonamine was attending Oregon State from 1982-1986, he made a risky promise to his friends. If the OSU football team, which had finished every season since 1970 with a losing record, ever became good again then Yonamine would wear OSU clothing every day for the rest of his life.

He still wore OSU gear often after he graduated, but the Beavers continued their streak of losing seasons for 28 years, from 1971 to 1999. Yonamine renewed his promise before the 2001 Fiesta Bowl, which OSU dominated 41-9 over Notre Dame and Yonamine made good on his pledge.

“I’m a man of my word,” Yonamine said, who now works as a teacher in Hawaii. “I’m a true Beaver fan.”

Yonamine’s promise is confirmed by his daughters Amber and Rachel and his friend Ken Horita, a fellow OSU grad also in Hawaii.

“I actually don’t remember a day when he wasn’t wearing an OSU shirt,” Amber said. “Sometimes he even wears an OSU cap, shorts and flip-flops as well.”

“Crazy? Questionable,” Horita said. “Cool? Arguably. But so Marvin? Definitely.”

Yonamine’s two daughters currently attend OSU and his son’s application was recently approved. According to his most recent count, Yonamine has compiled more than 130 OSU shirts, including the polo shirts he wears to work but not including shorts and other articles.

“Every day I open up my drawer and I say, ‘what do I want to wear today?’” Yonamine said. “I pick out something. I go, ‘Cool, it’s an Oregon State shirt.’ I’m never disappointed with my attire.”

Yonamine grew up in Wai’anae, a small town in O’ahu, and visited OSU as a child when his father was getting his master’s degree in Corvallis. Yonamine’s first taste of OSU sports was a men’s basketball victory in Gill Coliseum, when coach Ralph Miller and the Beavers took an 82-75 win over Weber State on Dec. 20, 1971. His first impression of Corvallis stuck with him.

“I was hooked,” he said. “My dad lived in an apartment in Corvallis closer to downtown by the train tracks. There was an apple tree outside the window. Being from Hawaii, I had never seen an apple tree in my life. I was in awe… I fell in love with Corvallis in 1971.”

Yonamine followed his father’s footsteps and decided to attend OSU himself in 1982. He says his distaste for the University of Oregon began when he flew from Honolulu to Eugene before his first term in college. The shuttle from Eugene to Corvallis had no room, so Yonamine and four other Hawaiian OSU students had to wait for four hours until it returned; the small Eugene airport closed down and they had to wait outside on the sidewalk. 

It turned out to be serendipitous for Yonamine: one of the other four students was Laurie Sasaoka, and the two struck up a friendship. They started dating less than a month later and have now been married 26 years.

For 15 of those, Yonamine’s passion for OSU has been displayed daily by his shirts and he’s developed quite the reputation in his family and beyond.

“Growing up, when I heard my dad scream I thought he got hurt, so I would frantically run to help him only to find out he was screaming because he was watching some type of OSU game and the Beavers scored,” Rachel Yonamine said.

“His love for OSU is intense,” Amber Yonamine added. “People are always happy to see his enthusiasm for OSU and he’s met a lot of nice people by showing his love for Oregon State.”

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