Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dartmouth Big Green (2009-13, 1970-72)

I live about 15 minutes from Dartmouth, so I feel a slight affinity for the place. 
The good news: The Big Green has 17 Ivy League titles, the most of any school. The bad news: The last title was in 1996, or before some of this year’s players were possibly born. After some ghastly seasons in the 2000s (10-50 from 2004-09, including an 0-10 debacle in 2008), the Big Green has gone 23-17 since 2010. It’s not the glory years, but it’s better than what I used to see at Memorial Field my first few years in the Upper Valley.
Notes ’n stuff about the Big Green:
  • The basic look - white helmets, green jerseys and white pants - go back to 1955, the year Bob Blackman began his legendary 16-year run as Dartmouth’s coach. Dartmouth tried black pants in 2003-04 and green pants from 2005-07. In both cases, common sense prevailed and they were ditched. 
  • The distinctive Dartmouth helmet - the swooping green stripes with the “D” in front - originated in 1965. When Buddy Teevens began his first stint as Dartmouth’s coach in 1987, he changed the helmet to a more pedestrian look, with “DARTMOUTH” across the side. John Lyons kept the look when he became coach in 1991, but restored the classic helmet in 1999.
  • Names were worn on the home jersey from 1987-92, and on the road from 1987 until at least 1993, but no later the ’95.
  • The team was known as “Indians” in addition to “Big Green” until 1972, when the school abolished the Native American moniker. The “Indian head” stayed on the road jersey through ’72 and the home shirt through ’73. Replacing it was a big “D” that came in at least three different shapes.
  • Nike has manufactured the uniforms since 2005.
Helmet Hut has some background info on Dartmouth's wonderful helmets. ... No Dartmouth yearbooks/newspapers are online, but I own a handful of Aegis yearbooks and a pile of media guides going back to the 1970s.
The 2013 uniform (see above) was nice. A little busy, but nice. Number 10 is quarterback Dalyn Williams, the Ivy League’s rookie of the year in 2012.
Dartmouth has unveiled new uniforms for this season that resemble those of Michigan State, another Nike team. Among the notable changes: A darker shade of green and a silver alternate helmet (Nooooooo!). I’ll get ’em up here once they see game action.

The vintage uniform is from 1970, when the Indians/Big Green went 9-0, allowed only 42 points all season and finished 14th in the AP poll. Not the I-AA/FCS poll, the REAL Division I poll, with Texas and Penn State and those guys. Dartmouth also won the Lambert Trophy as the best college team in the East. (No one cares about or remembers the Lambert Trophy anymore, but it used to be a HUGE deal.) 
Note the Blackman trademarks: The helmet, which we’ve already discussed, the giant shoulder numbers and the long sleeves. He took elements of this uniform with him to Illinois (1971-75) and Cornell (1977-82). Dartmouth kept this look through 1977, with the "D" replacing the Indian head on the sleeves by '74.

Up next: The Harvard Crimson, the beasts of the Ivies for the last decade or so.

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