Keith Heyward has never lost to his alma mater.
The Oregon safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator will face Oregon State for the fifth time during the Civil War at 1 p.m. Friday in Corvallis. That will be the second time that Heyward, who played cornerback at OSU from 1997-2000, will be in the visitors’ locker room at Reser Stadium.
Heyward first faced OSU when he was the secondary coach at Washington in 2012-13. UW defeated the Beavers 20-17 in Seattle in 2012 before winning 69-27 in Corvallis the following year.
Heyward moved on to coach defensive backs at USC in 2014 when the Trojans defeated the Beavers 35-10 in Los Angeles. He was on the Oregon side in the Civil War for the first time last year during UO’s 69-10 win at Autzen Stadium.
“I’ve gone against them a few times,” Hayward said after Tuesday's practice. “I admit the first time they came up to Seattle when I was at Washington, that was a little different. Ever since then, I’m in the moment, coaching and game-planning for our team to do our best to win. I don’t really think about it. I am preparing my guys right now to make sure we are ready to go into Corvallis, a great challenge on the road. The record is out, it doesn’t matter. This is an emotional game. Houses are divided, this is the Civil War.”
Heyward’s house used to be divided with his wife, Cameo, a former Oregon track and field athlete. After switching his allegiance to the Ducks, Heyward said Yvenson Bernard — a running back at OSU when Heyward was a graduate assistant in 2005-06 — is the only Beaver he has talked with this week.
Heyward went 3-7 against Oregon as a player and coach with the Beavers. He was a sophomore when OSU beat Oregon 44-41 in double overtime at Reser in 1998 and his final game at that stadium was Oregon State’s 23-13 win over the Ducks in 2000 to clinch a share of the Pac-12 title with the Ducks and Huskies.
“All of them are special and memorable for different reasons,” he recalled. “Obviously in ’98, that was big. Double overtime with Kenny Simonton running around the corner. In 2000, Jake Cookus, who is now their special teams coordinator, had three picks against Joey (Harrington). Those were big games.”
OSU’s quarterback during the 1998 and 2000 wins over Oregon was Jonathan Smith, who will finish his first year as Oregon State’s head coach against the Ducks.
“Jonathan was always calm, very confident,” Heyward recalled. “He was a technician, very smart. I expect his team to be ready. He has done a great job because that offense has had a ton of production. Jermar Jefferson has done a good job running the ball and RPOs, play-action passes. That’s Jonathan. He was a good player and he’s doing a great job leading Oregon State.”
Heyward began his coaching career during two years as a graduate assistant with the Beavers when they lost at Autzen Stadium in 2005 and defeated the Ducks in 2006.
He was the secondary coach at Oregon State from 2008-11 when the Ducks defeated the Beavers each season.