The 1958 football team was ranked as high as number two in the nation. The Bearcats, under Hall of Fame coach Ted Ogdahl, won the Northwest Conference with an undefeated record (5-0) and finished 8-1 in the season. The only loss was in the final game of the season, 7-0 to Arizona State of Flagstaff (now Northern Arizona University). Only one opponent during the entire season scored more than a touchdown against the Bearcats as they outscored their foes 282-41. Willamette was led by tackle Gary Raid, center Bill Long, and halfback Stan Solomon. The trio won numerous regional and national honors after the season. Raid will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year as an individual; Solomon and Long were inducted in 1992 and 1996, respectively. The 1958 Bearcat offense averaged an amazing 366.3 yards per game, 281.4 of which came on the ground. Their top ground-gainers were Solomon (753 yards) and Denny Sarver (555 yards). Option quarterback Keith Driver ran and passed for a combined 571 yards.
Lee Weaver led the receivers with 17 catches for 374 yards. All-conference performers Bill Wall, Howard Stroebel, Earl Jambura, Dale Shumway and Denny Sarver led Willamette’s defense, which limited its opponents to just 163.9 yards per game. Joining Raid, Solomon and Long on the all-conference team for the offense were Weaver and Dennis Mihm. After the season, Raid and Long played in the All-American Bowl on January 3, 1959. Both Bearcats started and played on both sides of the ball for the Small College Stars, which lost 14-12 to the Major College Stars.