Monday, February 29, 2016

Williams Ephs (1957)

Since we showed an Amherst uniform last time, it's only fitting we profile its ancient rival, Williams. Like Amherst, the Ephs (named for founder Ephriam Williams) have worn purple since the 19th century. You can read more about the history of the name, colors and mascot here.

A couple nice shots of the Williams bench in 1957.
Note that not all helmets have numbers on the side.
These are from the delightful Williams College Memory Project.

The uniform above is a pretty snazzy model, with gold pants and unique thicker-than-usual numbers. The helmets are vaguely like Brown's from that era, but not all of them had numbers on the side. Note the use of sleeve numbers on the road shirts -- I think UNH is the only other team in this project that wore sleeve numbers that early.

The '57 Ephs went 6-0-1 and beat Wesleyan and Amherst for the Little Three title.

The '57 Ephs in white.

 Next up in our Division III tour: Another NESCAC school, this time in Maine.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Amherst Lord Jeffs (1984)

Our informal tour of Division III schools takes us to Amherst, where the Lord Jeffs (oh, wait, can't call them that anymore) displayed an amazing run of uniform consistency that blows away the likes of even Delaware and Yale.

The basic template -- white helmets, purple shirt with white stripes and white pants -- was used from the 1930s until 1993, when most of the stripes were eliminated and an old-english "A" was placed on the helmet. (For me, nothing says "elite private institution" like the color purple and old-English lettering.)

The Amherst players are all smiles during an undefeated season.
These pic are all from the '85 Amherst College Olio yearbook.

Anyway, this uniform rules, a Princeton that went through the wrong batch of laundry. The  looks is such a hardcore throwback that the numbers on the jersey front use that short, wide font that went out with the 60s. Several of the sleeves also remained pretty long.

The '84 team picture.

The folks at Gameface have tons of Amherst pictures you can find here. I chose 1984 because the site had images of home and road uniforms, but this image could really represent the whole decade. Also, the No-Longer-Jeffs went undefeated that season.

The '84 Jeffs in action.

Up next: Well, if we're going to do Amherst, then we should do its arch-rival in Wayoutwest, Mass. ...

I wonder what's the story behind this picture? Are they angry at the Lord Jeffs' name?
Or are they angry that Amherst is dropping the name?
Or maybe they see a purple cow on the horizon ...

Monday, February 22, 2016

Norwich Cadets (1953)

Time to shake things up on the blog a bit. 

While I'm not planning to do comprehensive histories for Division III schools -- after all, D-III teams are almost as common in New England as weeds -- I thought it'd be fun to try something different and add selected uniforms over the next few weeks.

We'll start with Vermont's Norwich University, since it's the inspiration for this mini-project.  It's a military school in the hippie capital of New England, but don't let it fool or scare you. It's a gorgeous campus with a fun atmosphere for football games. A Homecoming game I attended in 2012 drew something like 5,300 fans, which is 53,000 by D-III standards.

While at the post office a couple months ago, I saw this gem sitting at the top of the recycling bin:

And this is just the cover! The inside has a phenomenal article on Norwich athletic equipment then and now, with tons of illustrations. You can read (and see) the whole article here. And of course, there's a page devoted to football:

Bliss, part 2.

Some digging through Norwich's Archives and Special Collections filled in the blanks on the early 50s helmets and pants. Check out the photos below from the site:

A group of Norwich U. players, 1953. No. 89, second from right in the front row,
is wearing the jersey likely shown in the magazine article above.

The '53 Cadets, who went 4-4.

I couldn't find records of road jerseys, which doesn't mean they weren't worn ... just lost to history for now.

Later this week, we'll head to the wilds of western Massachusetts for some NESCAC fun.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Brown Bears (1973-74)

I feel like I've done this post before, but the records say I haven't, so let's carry on ...

Brown's uniforms took a curious left turn in 1973 upon the arrival of John Anderson as coach. First off, the gold helmets the Bears had worn since 1967 were replaced by silver versions. 

The use of either of these colors, especially in such a prominent role, has always been strange, since the team's official colors are brown, red and white. But then, Harvard has gold pants, and I don't think any of the Crimson's 40-something other varsity teams use gold in any capacity. It's a throwback to the days when uniforms weren't so, er, uniform and weren't dictated by focus groups and apparel contracts. 

Anyway, silver has been used on and off by the Bears ever since.

A 1974 Brown media guide.
That's a pretty neat logo.

Brown at home in '74 against Princeton in this Daily Princetonian pic.
Another unusual feature is the big, curved numbers, used by Vermont during the exact same period. Then there's the trim -- instead of two or three thin stripes, you have one big, thick-as-three-bean-chili stripe on each sleeve. All in all, it adds up to a fun, unconventional uniform.

The '74 Brown road uniform at Columbia.
Columbia Spectator pic.
In '75, Brown went to a more conventional uniform and wore that style to its first Ivy League title.

More unis from the sons of Bruno: 2014, 2012-132004-082001-03, 1997-20001984-891981-831975-771967-71, 1957-58.

Monday, February 15, 2016

New Hampshire Wildcats (1968-71)

Between 16 of years of Chief Boston and 27 years of Bill Bowes, New Hampshire burned through three coaches in seven years. Coaching instability can often bring out uniform instability, and the Wildcats were no exception to the rule (theory?).

After Joe Yukica, whose uniforms mimicked his alma mater, Penn Sate, left for Boston College in 1968, replacement Jim Root introduced a flashier set of jerseys with shoulder stripes and a neat, highly detailed Wildcat logo on the sleeve. While other Wildcat logos have been from a profile or a 45-degree angle, this Wildcat was in your face and not taking any ... er ... gruff from anybody. One oddity: While jersey sleeves around football were growing shorter, UNH's remained fairly long, which probably didn't help during those sweltering early-season games.

The UNH road jerseys at UMass in 1968.

A color shot of UNH-UMass in '68, with good seats still available
at McGuirk Stadium. These are both from the '69 UMass Index.

The helmet numbers, meanwhile, switched to a blockier font and remained that way through 1975.

The home uniforms in 1970. "I see your Indian and raise it with a Wildcat!"
Note that both teams have long sleeves, an increasing rarity for the period.

A nice close-up of the 1970 jersey and helmet.

Under Root, the Wildcats shared the Yankee Conference title in '68 and were 18-14-1 before he left for William & Mary in '72, where he replaced a guy named Lou Holtz.

There are plenty more Wildcat uniforms where this came from: 20142010-13199819751966-6719501947-481938, 1936. Rivalry Week: Maine-UNH.

Something about this picture reminds me of the
cheerleader in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Northeastern Huskies (1994-96)

Until the last decade, when college football uniforms morphed into a bizarre weekly fashion show for teens who are sucked into shiny objects, one telltale sign of a poor program was an inconsistent uniform design. Northeastern, with a mere six winning seasons over the last 30 years of the program, fell into this rut. Some years, the Huskies wore black jerseys, others red, which was the case in the mid-90s. The traditional "NORTHEASTERN" word mark was ditched for a big "HUSKIES" at home (and occasionally on the road; I suspect the "HUSKIES" roads may have been worn in '95 as well, but I have no visual proof yet).

A mid-90s Northeastern home shirt, taken from an online ad.

The Huskies' 97 sked shows off the 1996 uniform.

As the examples above show, not all the Yankee Conference patches (God, I love those) were in the same spot, and some -- but not all -- shirts had the college football 125th anniversary patch.

In '97, the Huskies returned to a black home jersey that closely mirrored the first 1995-96 road shirt.

As this image from the '97 Cauldron yearbook shows, the road shirts
also doubled as practice jerseys. Another sign your program's not doing well.

This Bangor Daily News photo shows Northeastern playing Maine in Portland
in 1996 -- a game I attended, for what it's worth.

Some more doggie treats from Northeastern: 2008-091989-901982-861976-77, 1973-751963-68.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Yale Bulldogs (1954-58)

In this little ol' blog, we've chronicled some schools that use colors not normally seen on their palettes: Witness Maine dabbling with red and black, or more recently, Dartmouth using gray and Harvard adding black to its crimson.

Yale was no stranger to a color change-up or two, either. In the 1950s, the Bulldogs donned gold pants -- which made them look as if they were aping hated Harvard -- and added gray trim to the jersey sleeves. According to Mark F. Bernstein's wonderful book Football: The Ivy League Origins of an American Obsession, new coach Jordan Olivar considered football a part-time occupation and returned to California each off-season to attend to his insurance business, but produced a winning team anyway. "That made it easier for the alumni to swallow a little of his California showmanship," according to Bernstein, "even the heretical of one putting gold trim on the Bulldogs' blue jerseys." He mixes up the colors (see the pictures below), but you get the idea. 

A pair of Yale programs in FULL COLOR.
I wonder what Handsome Dan is thinking in the top picture?
"Well, I don't see a fire hydrant anywhere ..."

Like some other Ivy schools, Yale wore one color jersey both home and away and didn't add a white shirt until '56.

Yale (in white) takes on Brown in 1958. Yale Daily News pic.

On the field, Yale went 8-1 in 1956 and 7-0 in the Ivy League to win the first formal Ivy crown, capped by a 42-14 rout of Harvard. The white pants -- and common sense -- returned in 1969.

One other note: You can see how rapidly uniforms were evolving during this period, with face masks and larger numbers taking hold. Others, like shorter sleeves and sleeve numbers, weren't far away.

Want more from the sons of old Eli? Look here: 2015201420131997-981994, 19961979-8219781974-771967-6819651959-60, 1930. Rivalry Week: Harvard-Yale.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dartmouth Big Green (1957-61)

Last fall, Dartmouth won its 18th Ivy League title. This is what the Big Green wore when it won its first Ancient Eight title in 1958.

The home shirts retained the rather conventional look of Bob Blackman's first two years as coach (1955-56), but the roads threw a bit of a curveball (yeah, this is football, but work with me), with horizontal stripes on the shirt and numbers that bear a resemblance to UCLA ... or Wheel of Fortune. Dartmouth went 7-2 overall, 6-1 Ivy, with the losses coming to Holy Cross and Harvard. (Jeez, even then the Crimson was a tough out ... oops, there's another baseball reference.) Halfback and future head coach Jake Crouthamel and guard Al Krutsch were named all-Ivy.

All-Ivy guard (and captain) Al Krutsch in a 1958 program.
Sadly, this is not my copy; this came from an eBay listing.

You can see team photos of every Dartmouth title team here.

Some other unis from the Green Machine: 201420132005-062003-041978-8619701955-561951-54, 19441936-38. Rivalry week: Dartmouth-Princeton.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Delaware Blue Hens (1997-2003)

Sometimes, it's the team that makes a uniform special. Occasionally, it's the uniform that makes a team special. With Delaware, it's the best of both worlds, like pulled pork and nachos.

Delaware's 1997-2003 uniform isn't too different than anything else the Blue Hens wore before 2004, but there were a couple big highlights during the time period:

1) In 2001, Delaware coach Tubby Raymond collected his 300th (and final, a la Lefty Grove) victory as head coach;
2) In '03, the Hens won their first NCAA I-AA (FCS) national title -- and sixth overall when you add the boatload of Division II titles from the 70s.

In '04, Delaware went to curved numbers after a switch in manufacturers (to Nike from Wilson), and the era of a classic uniform that launched in 1951 came to a partial close (after all, the winged helmet remains to this day).

The Delaware Blue Hens celebrate Tubby Raymond's 300th coaching win
in 2001. Am I the only one who thinks Tubby looks like Lee Corso?
Other notes about the late-90s/early-aughties Hens' uni:

1) The Wilson manufacturers' logo on the jersey kept changing/moving, which made for some consistent inconsistency;
2) A black band was worn above the A-10 logo on the 2001 home jersey after the 9/11 attacks.

Delaware QB Andy Hall faces off against The Citadel (must remember to capitalize the "the") in 2003
on his way to the I-AA/FCS title. He was a Georgia Tech transfer and married a Tech cheerleader.
Remind me to be a quarterback in my next life.
There's more from the Delaware hen house: 2011-142004-061989-921980-88, 1975-791973-7419721967-71.