Thursday, June 29, 2017

UMass Redmen (1953-54)

In recent years, UMass has alternated between white and maroon helmets (and, for its first two seasons in FBS, even wore a black helmet), but the Red/Minutemen exclusively wore white lids from 1969-2011 -- an amazing run of consistency, even if the helmet logos changed like clockwork (check the links below for evidence). 

The earliest white helmet, however, debuted in 1953, replacing a gold helmet that made UMass look more like Boston College. Not content with a stripe down the front, the team also had one across the sides, giving each helmet a big maroon "X" when viewed from above. It's not a common design, but New Hampshire wore something similar in the late 1930s.

A beautiful shot of the 1954 UMass uniform (left) in action,
from the '55 Index yearbook. The top of the helmet resembles an
"X" -- or a target for a bird to do its business.

Now listen --- I want to you to ... check out the '53 UMass
road uniform, with white pants.

For '53 only, the gold pants from '52 were replaced with white ones, thus giving us the first UMass uni that really looks like UMass. Alas, the goldies returned in '54 and stuck around through the end of the decade, although the white pants continued to make appearances, too. The gold helmets made a return in '55 and lasted for three more seasons before they were retired for good. 

More of the '53 uniform. I can never get enough
of those cheesy yearbook captions from the 1940s and 50s.
The '53 "home" jersey, but it appears UMass alternated
between white and maroon at home.

As for the team, there wasn't much home to write about (1-7 in '53, 4-4 in '54), although the head coach was Boston College legend "Chuckin'" Charlie O'Rourke, who was 21-39-4 from 1952-59. Maybe that explains something about the team's resemblance to BC, although the gold helmets predated his arrival by several seasons.

Much, much more from the Minutemen: 20162015201420132000-021986-871978-841975-771974197319721966-681960-621951-521938-39.

I'm not sure of this picture's context (two-sport athlete, likely),
but the uniform is way cool. It almost resembles a Milwaukee Braves uni.

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