Friday, October 3, 2014

Holy Cross Crusaders (1967-70)

October 5 marks the 45th anniversary of one of college football’s darker moments: The day Holy Cross cancelled its 1969 season after two games when the entire team was infected with hepatitis. A fine article from 2004 about the lost season can be found here.

When I started research for this project, I often wondered what Holy Cross wore during that sad, truncated season. When I stumbled upon the Crusader student newspaper archives, I found out not just what they wore, but what they DIDN’T wear.

The Crusader ran a detailed ’69 season preview with a team photo and publicity shots. Note the players are wearing home and road jerseys in the team pic:

The striped shirts were a carryover from the 67-68 seasons, but the socks were lacking the matching stripes from that period. The gray pants were new after Holy Cross wore white the last two years. Here’s what they wore in 67-68, when Tom Boisture was the coach. I’ve seen enough game pictures of helmets missing the logo where I think it warrants inclusion in this project: 

But when the ’69 season started, The Crusaders wore plain short-sleeve jerseys, identical to what they would wear in 1970 warm-weather games. These pix are from the ’69 issues of the Crusader:

But before the ’Saders could break out the long-sleeved striped shirts, the season was suddenly over. Here is the uniform Holy Cross wore … and the ones the team didn’t wear: 

To add insult to injury, the Crusaders returned to the field in 1970, minus the striped shirts from 1967-68 … and went 0-10-1, wearing six uniform styles in 11 games. Although the college tried to persuade him to change his mind, coach Bill Whitton resigned after the season, with a lifetime record of 0-12-1 and a wonder of what might have been.

Again, a big thanks to the Crusader and the College of the Holy Cross for posting these old newspapers online, which make this project such a rewarding experience.

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