Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dartmouth Big Green (1978-86)

When a team adds a black alternate jersey, it'll often make the bizarre claim that it's somehow honoring the heritage of the team (see exhibit A: the San Francisco 49ers). "Well, our team wore a black stripe on the socks in 1931, so it's been part of our tradition since the Depression, so by wearing black jerseys we're really honoring our heritage and tradition, right ... right?"

OK, I made that quote up, but you get the point. It's really all about looking intimidating while generating buzz and marketing dollars. Just when you think the black uniform craze (going strong for more than two decades now) is dying out, it seems to get new life. 

As pointed out in our last post, THREE Ivy League teams have added black jerseys for this season: The Harvard Crimson, the Dartmouth Big Green and the Columbia Lions (who traditionally wore Columbia blue). I was hoping Brown would add a black alternate, try to pass off as the Black Bears and invite a lawsuit from Orono, but instead chose a classy look for 2015.)

Dartmouth, thankfully, has not gone around talking about black's grand tradition in the Big Green's color scheme (perhaps because the team went 6-14 in this outfit years ago). But Dartmouth's first use of black trim came in 1978, Joe Yukica's first year as coach. The oversize numbers and sleeve patches of the Bob Blackman/Jake Crouthamel years were discarded for a more contemporary look. A black face mask was added in '83.

A pair of Dartmouth media guide covers. Nineteen eighty-six was the
last year the books were small enough to stuff in your back pocket.

Dartmouth won a pair of Ivy League titles under Yukica, then entered a steady decline, followed by a messy firing and lawsuit that would hog up the memory of any Kindle in order to document it properly.

Wide receiver David Shula takes off against Cornell in 1978.
The son of legendary coach Don Shula later coached the NFL Bengals
and now runs a steakhouse chain with his family. 

From the back of cover of the 1987 media guide, which uses '86 photos.

Coach Joe Yukica and his troops, c. 1985.
When Buddy Teevens took over in '87, the entire uniform -- included the famed "D" helmet -- was scrapped.

Some other Big Green unis we've profiled: 201420132005-06, 2003-0419701955-561951-541936-38. Rivalry week: Dartmouth-Princeton.

This really awesome 16-page book chronicles Dartmouth's 1978 Ivy championship season.
Coach Joe Yukica is at top right, and No. 5 is future coach (then quarterback) Buddy Teevens.

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