But if Andros had support, he also had some vigorous and scornful attackers. One Oregon State English professor countered the Andros no-beard stand with instructions to his students to wear Indian beads and feathers to his classes, and he took obvious pleasure in publicly calling Andros "a representative of the tyrannical majority."
The strongest formal opposition to Andros came from the 88-member faculty senate. A newly formed Committee on Minority Affairs said the university could not justify disparaging an "individual student's right to determine what constitutes proper social and cultural values," especially as they pertain to mode of dress and style of hair. Later the faculty "lost its nerve on this one," says Andros. "The way the resolution stood, they were giving the hippies license to walk naked at graduation."
Andros also said the faculty had missed the point. "I'm not just fighting hair on the face," he said. "I'm fighting for a principle of education—the right to run my department. If I thought it would end with a beard or a mustache, I wouldn't be so bullheaded. But if they beat you on one issue, they'll keep right on." He said he also had a duty to the coaching profession, that he couldn't "abandon the concepts of training, discipline, team unity and morale." He spoke of the lessons to be learned in the "willingness" of an individual to subordinate himself to a cause greater than himself. He said this might not sound very democratic but he wasn't trying to run a democracy, he was trying to run an athletic program.
Privately, he said the faculty senate could write resolutions until its fingers fell off, he wasn't going to have any one-sided committee overseeing his program. "They don't have the power to fire me and they sure as hell can't say anything to make me resign," he said. He had the support of his players ("my boys," he calls them) and the backing of the athletic board and something more....
Just as it was clear by now that the BSU had picked on Andros for headlines ( BSU President Mike Smith admitted Milton's beard was "incidental"), it was also clear that Andros knew such a thing might happen. He could have ignored the beard or softened his discipline, as many fellow coaches said he should have, but he chose to fight because he was ready to fight. Only days before, he had carefully covered his flanks and laid the lines for his defense.
Andros had returned from a trip East, where he had been offered the head coaching job at the University of Pittsburgh. When he got home he was greeted by a chanting mob of Oregon State students ("Please don't leave! Please don't leave!"). Pittsburgh had offered more money and more fringe benefits, but Andros told Oregon State President James H. Jensen he wouldn't leave. Andros got a new five-year contract and also asked Jensen to give him a written reaffirmation of an understanding they had had when he first signed. A memorandum was drawn up stating that Andros alone would set the policies for his football team. As Bear Bryant has said, "You've got to have a contract to protect yourself in case the president loses his guts."
In the following weeks, of all the charges leveled against Andros and the school, none was documented save the directive for Milton to cut his whiskers. No athlete came forward to say that Andros interfered in social life. Andros admits he has had parents complain about his black players dating their white daughters, but he has refused to interfere. "It takes two to tango," he has said.
Eleven of the 18 black athletes are back in school at Oregon State. Two were out for spring football practice (in an average year Andros might have five). Wingback Bryce Huddleston showed up the first day with a mustache and was dismissed, but after a 90-minute conference with Athletic Director Jim Barratt, who backed Andros, Huddleston agreed to shave it off and he returned to practice. "I won't hold it against him," said Andros, "except that he will have to work up from the last team."
A few days later Andros said, "I think you'll find I've never closed my ears to my athletes. Coaches who do aren't usually around long. I think you'll find I never lie to them, I don't double-talk, I don't pussyfoot. I don't know what it is to say 'no comment.'
"When I recruit a kid I never promise him where he'll play or if he'll play. All I say is I want him to be happy to be a Beaver, and I expect him to play gladly where we think he should. I always have more fullbacks and halfbacks playing guard and tackle than anybody. I don't want prima donnas. Off that field I'm like a father image, I put my arm around 'em. We talk. But on that field I'm a dictator. I don't want kids who worry about cars and dates before they worry about winning.