Monday, June 29, 2015

Holy Cross Crusaders (1973-74)

When we last took a gander at Holy Cross, we looked at the Crusaders' gradual revival following the hepatitis-sabotaged 1969 debacle. The team stagnated a bit in 1973-74, going 5-6 and 5-5-1. 

While keeping in mind that college football was a completely different box of chocolates in the '70s, Holy Cross' 1973 schedule would be considered pretty formidable for an FCS team today: Seven opponents (UMass, Army, Temple, Syracuse, Rutgers, UConn, Boston College) are all FBS teams now, and an eighth (UNH) is in FCS, but would probably have a winning record if it played those seven now. And a ninth (Dartmouth) wasn't too shabby then or now.

The '73 Saders at home. Yes, the byline is of the Dan Shaughnessey,
the Crusader newspaper's sports editor in the early 1970s.

The '73 Saders at UNH.

As for the uniforms? The only difference between 1973-74 and '72 are the striped socks. And that's it.

Holy Cross visits Boston College in 1974.
Note the one fewer stripe on the Crudaders' socks.
Yeah, that makes me excited, too.

Want more from Holy Cross? Look here: 201420132004-08, 197219711967-701951-55. Rivalry Week: Boston College-Holy Cross.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Princeton Tigers (1970-72)

Until 1969, Princeton's helmets were a rock of consistency: The only change made over the previous 25 years or so was the addition of helmet numbers in 1959. But starting in '69, when the Tigers wore the "100" decal on the sides -- for the 100th anniversary of college football's first game, which featured Princeton -- change became a constant.

In '70, Princeton employed its first helmet logo, a series of wavy black lines that shrink gradually as they reach the back of the helmet. I guess those are supposed to be tiger stripes, but they look more like ... well, what do they look like??  

The Princeton home uniform in 1970, a mix of the
traditional and abstract.

The 1971 roads. That number font was starting to look
really old-fashioned by the '70s, but a few teams (Penn, Princeton)
continued to employ them.

The rest of the uniform, with the small jersey numbers, tiger stripes on the sleeves and gray pants, remained traditional. Note how the home jersey front and back uses different number fonts, a rarity. In '73, the helmet stripes added a white outline before Princeton decided to look to the Great White North for its next logo, the second of three Tiger insignias that decade.

At Yale in '72. These pix are all from the Daily Princetonian,
but you knew that already. :)

On the prowl for more Princeton? Check these out: 2014201319941993-95, 96; 1984-86, 1975-771979-83, Rivalry week: Dartmouth-Princeton.

Monday, June 22, 2015

UNH Wildcats (1938)

The University of New Hampshire has started to put some reeeealy old yearbooks online, which means the discovery of some cool uniforms, such as this one from the 1940 Granite. The 1938 gang wore some interesting helmets: White shells with four blue stripes that divide each helmet into quarters. I imagine they almost resemble a cross from above.

A couple shots of UNH's funky helmets.
These pix are all from the 1940 Granite,
which chronicled the 1938-39 school year.

The rest of the uniform almost looks like Dartmouth's from that era, with blue replacing green. The Wildcats wore two different jerseys, a practice many teams had yet to adopt.

UNH players show off both jerseys.
The Wildcats take the field.
They come out of the same entranceway today!

The '38 Cats were 3-6, and were shut out six times, which means every loss was by shutout. Yup, football was a different game then.

BONUS: The 1966-67 UNH post has been updated with more accurate information, more pix and some downbeat commentary from the '67 Granite. Check it out!

Plenty more Wildcat uniforms where this came from: 20142010-1319981975, 1966-6719501947-48. Rivalry Week: Maine-UNH.

Cowell Stadium in 1938, its third year of operation.
Like Principal Strickland in Back to the Future, it hasn't changed much.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Boston University Terriers (1963-64)

From 1965 until the program had its Old Yeller moment in 1997, Boston University's football team wore red helmets. But previously (at least since c. 1949), the Terriers wore white helmets, sometimes with numbers or even the school seal on the sides.

Here's what BU wore its last two years with white helmets, as part of a rather plain overall design. Not all the players in '64 wore numbers on the helmets, judging from grainy Boston Globe pictures of a home game I found -- with no yearbooks or newspapers archived online, BU is a tough team to research. 

The uniform was jazzed up considerably later in the decade.

Boston U. (in dark jersey) takes on Holy Cross at home in 1964.
From The Crusader archives.

UMass is the focus of this 1964 photo from the Massachusetts (not yet Daily) Collegian
archives, but those are the Terriers in the white roads.

Want some more unis from a gone-but-not-forgotten program? Look here: 19971988-891984-871968-70.

Monday, June 15, 2015

UConn 1934

I thought I had given this uniform from our Rivalry Week feature its own freestanding entry, but I was wrong. The Huskies' recent smack-talking of Central Florida had me thinking about the whole ram-napping escapade again, so here we go.

The 1934 UConn uniform was a one-year style (even then the team had a hard time sticking with one style!) that was unique for a few reasons:

1) It was the first UConn jersey with numbers on the front;
2) It appears to have employed Rhody/Columbia-esque light blue trim on a dirty gray jersey;
3) It was the last year before the school adopted the "Huskies" nickname. (All the sports entries in the Nutmeg yearbook refer to the teams as the "Nutmeggers" or "Blue and White.")

The first page of the football entry from the 1935 Nutmeg yearbook.
When kidnapping the other team's mascot is considered the season's high point,
you know it's been a long season. 

The Huskies-in-waiting went 1-7 in '34 and were shut out six times, with their only win coming against Coast Guard. 

Craving some more UConn unis? Check these out: 201420131984-881971-7219701966-67, 1957. Rivalry Week: UConn-Rhode Island.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Delaware Blue Hens (1973-74)

The big difference between Delaware's 1972 uniforms and the version you see above is the addition of the three-striped socks, a very 1970s delicacy -- Maine, Northeastern, Brown, UNH and UConn all wore their socks this way during the decade. Most -- but not all -- of the '74 roads lost the blue trim, making for a very plain jersey.

Delaware takes on Temple in 1973, in this picture from the 1974 Blue Hen yearbook.
Delaware Stadium appears to have changed very little over the decades. ...
just like the Hens' uniforms.

The '74 Hens in action, from the '75 yearbook. Notice how some
shirts have blue sleeve trim, others do not. Fascinating stuff, no?

After snubbing the Boardwalk Bowl in '72, the '73 Hens returned to the Bowl -- now part of the NCAA Division II playoff system -- and lost to Grambling, 17-6. In '74, Delaware reached the D-II championship game -- called the Camellia Bowl -- and lost to Central Michigan, 54-14. 

A close-up of the '73 Blue Hens.

There's more from Delaware: 2011-142004-061989-921980-8819721967-71.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Maine Black Bears (1975)

Jack Leggett was recently fired as Clemson's baseball coach. Long before he coached the Tigers to six College World Series appearances, he captained the 1976 Maine team that reached the College World Series for the second time in its history. But when he wasn't playing baseball in Orono, Leggett more than held his own on the gridiron.

Jack Leggett (No. 21) tackles a Boston University ballcarrier in 1975.
From the '76 Prism yearbook.

Leggett, amazingly, is Maine's only three-time first-team all-conference selection -- pretty amazing when you consider all the Black Bears who have made All-America and/or reached the NFL. Leggett was named as a Yankee Conference first-team defensive back from 1974-76, but he was likely bolstered by his proficiency as a kicker, too. He led the team in scoring with 27 points (!) in 1975 (five field goals, 12 extra points) and 38 in '76 (six FGs, 20 XPs). 

Leggett lets his legs do the talking in 1976 (1977 Prism).

Two field goals from are worth noting: A 52-yarder against Delaware in '75 that remains the longest boot in Black Bear history, and a shot against UMass in '76 that ended a SIX-YEAR scoreless drought against the Minutemen. Maine lost, 24-3.

Leggett's time at UMaine coincided with the coaching transition from Walt Abbott to Jack Bicknell. The '75 Maine uniform was the last with the Michigan-style winged helmet, first introduced in 1949. The helmet numbers, which had been of the sides of the helmet since 1957, were moved to the back. Bicknell overhauled the uniform in '76, but Leggett kept right on kicking for the Black Bears.

Another Leggett kick from '76.

Can't bear to be without Black Bear uniforms? Here are some more: 20142011-131997-991976-8419741965, 1957-591949-50. Rivalry week: Maine-New Hampshire.

Maine football of a different sort, c. 1975.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dartmouth Big Green (2003-04)

With Dartmouth unveiling a black alternate uniform at this year's spring game, I thought it might be appropriate to look at the last time the Big Green did a blackout.

Coming off a string of dreary seasons, Dartmouth's uniforms underwent a dramatic makeover. The jerseys with Northwestern striping, used since 1987, were gone, as were the white pants that used similar stripes. In their place were simple jerseys with black trim and -- most dramatically -- solid black pants. 

It didn't hurt that the Big Green didn't have to pay for the uniforms: Former Big Green quarterback Jay Fiedler, then with the Miami Dolphins, footed the bill.

“They are sharp,” then-coach John Lyons told the Valley News (my current employer) in 2003. “The kids really like them.”

My 2003-04 Dartmouth home jersey, which I bought a team
equipment sale a couple years ago. These were recycled as practice
jerseys for years and were absolutely hammered as a result.

The 2003-04 road shirt. Notice how the green sleeve/collar trim
is faded from years of exposure and rewashing.

The kids may have liked them, but the wins didn't return: Dartmouth was 5-5 in '03 and 1-9 in '04, and Lyons was shown the door. It was a tough time for the program, and it would take a book to discuss it, but I can tell you in short that many of the problems were out of Lyons' control and he deserved a better hand than what he got his last several years in Hanover, especially after winning three Ivy League titles. Thankfully, Lyons has found success again as New Hampshire's defensive coordinator and has helped the Wildcats to back-to-back trips to the NCAA FCS semifinals.

First of all, buy this book. If you have even a passing interest in
New England college football, you won't be disappointed. Second,
check the photo on the left. It's Dartmouth's Andrew Hall making a ridiculous 38-yard
catch on 3rd-and-28 against Harvard in 2003. The catch set up a touchdown in
the Big Green's 30-16 upset of the Crimson -- the last time Dartmouth has defeated Harvard to date.
A close-up of Hall's catch, one of the most famous images
in Dartmouth football history. It was snapped by Kathy Slattery Phillips,
Dartmouth late sports information director.

In 2005 Buddy Teevens returned as Dartmouth's coach and he gave the unis another dramatic makeover.

The back cover of the 2005 Dartmouth media guide,
showing the 2004 home uniform.

Some other Big Green unis we've profiled: 201420132005-0619701955-561951-54, 1936-38. Rivalry week: Dartmouth-Princeton.

My cat thinks this jersey might make a nice bed.
I think otherwise ...

Monday, June 1, 2015

UMass Minutemen (2000-02)

Remember when drop-shadow numbers were all the rage on football uniforms? After the 1994 San Francisco 49ers wore their 1950s throwbacks in a Super Bowl rout, everyone leaped on the bandwagon and decided to add them. Even tradition-bound teams such as Auburn caved in to the trend.

The teams in our little project were no exception. Maine, UNH, Columbia, Boston College, Delaware, Holy Cross, Northeastern and UConn all wore the drop-shadows at some time during the 90s and aughties. Today, we look at UMass' first version of the uniforms -- the last ones to feature the 1990s script logo, made famous by the school's basketball team and replaced in 2003. 

The uniform is a mix of old and new -- well, new for that time period. The jerseys were the Minutemen's first to feature a wordmark (another 1990s innovation), but the helmets and pants still used thick stripes (a vestige of an earlier time). In 2002, an American flag patch was added to the jersey fronts. 

The 2000 UMass home uniform. The pic is from the 2001 UMass Index yearbook.
The 2002 road uniform, with the flag patch. This is from the 2003 Index ...
Once we get to the 21st century, college yearbooks start to take on a
rather slapdash quality. The sports teams are often limited to a few tossed-together photos
on one or two pages with no text ... or context, for that matter.
The most famous player to wear these unis was running back Marcel Shipp, who was a three-time All-American and two-time finalist for the Walter Payton Award (top player in FCS/I-AA). His 5,383 career rushing yards are still among the all-time FCS leaders.

The one and only Marcel Shipp in 2000.
What do you think he remembers more: His 1998 I-AA national championship,
or his two UFL titles with the Las Vegas Locomotives?
Shipp went to play six years for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals from 2001-07 (he missed all of 2004 with an injury) -- not bad for an undrafted free agent. He is now the running backs coach for the New York Jets.

Much, much more from the Minutemen: 201420131986-871978-841974, 19721966-681938-39.