1972 Indians
(Authentic Reproduction)

One would have to retreat to the early to mid-1950s to find any of the Ivy League teams consistently ranked in the end of season top fifteen. Other than the rarities of Princeton’s 1964 All American Cosmo Iacovazzi, Cornell’s Ed Marinaro who almost took the 1971 Heisman award, and ’72 Yale All American Dick Jauron, all three of whom were named to the College Football Hall Of Fame, Ivy and small college football honorees of national caliber and renown have become almost non-existent. The last time small east coast colleges put their Little All Americans or Division II or III All Americans into the national spotlight can be traced to the mid-1980s with the Sports Illustrated supported hype of both Joe Dudek of Plymouth State (New Hampshire) College and Gordon Lockbaum of The College Of The Holy Cross. A Holy Cross star who could have been similarly promoted was Dan Adams who admitted to filling out to a somewhat smaller stature than his 5’10”, 215 program listing, a linebacker who roamed the field from sideline to sideline, throwing his undersized body around with disregard for anything but making tackles and helping his team gain victory. He completed a terrific career that included an NCAA record twenty-one unassisted tackles in a 2005 game against Colgate and proved to be the exemplary captain and team player that most fans idealize. In almost every interview, he gave credit to his father Ron, a Catawba (North Carolina) College Athletic Hall Of Fame fullback who completed his career as the institution’s third all-time rusher, then stood as their fourth leading career rusher for years, and who remains as a top ten all timer.  
Dan noted his father’s strong influence both during and after his own career, stating that his father was “…real intense and loves football…We share the same love for the game. Football is very special to me because it is something that I can share on a personal level with my father.” Dan was motivated at every level of the game because of the pride he took in his dad’s journey from a single parent and somewhat impoverished background to one of unqualified success. Though he wanted to emulate the success that his father had, this would not be an easy task. Ronald H. Adams attended Catawba College with the benefit of a football scholarship and he made the most of this singular opportunity to further his education. The Fairfax, Virginia native no doubt could have played at a larger, more prestigious university but lacked the necessary experience and guidance and was thus happy to accept the first scholarship offer he was presented. An intelligent young man, Ron understood that he would have but one chance to fulfill a dream so jumped onto the Catawba Indians bandwagon.

His choice was prescient as Catawba was a small gem of academic and athletic excellence, often lost in the sea of small college status. Now a Division II competitor in the South Atlantic Conference, Ron was present to help the Indians transition from the Carolinas Conference to the SAC in 1975. He was recruited by long time Catawba coach Harvey Stratton and assumed starting fullback duties in ’72 as a sophomore. He flourished under new coach Bill “Big Daddy” Faircloth who took the head coaching position for 1973 and remained at the Indians helm through Ron’s final ’75 season before spending two years as a Duke assistant and then becoming a living institution within the Wake Forest athletic program for more than thirty years. Under both Stratton and Faircloth, Ron’s teams remained a solid .500 squad with numerous outstanding individual players. As excellent as Ron was running between the tackles, his forte was blocking and leading the way for “the other back,” Kim Smith. At another school he would have been the backfield bell cow but Smith was exceptional and they both shared top billing. When their careers wrapped up, Ron had carried 448 times to Kim’s 465, both had 4.6 yard rushing averages with Kim totaling 2149 career yards and Ron 2060. They were an unselfish one-two punch who both earned entry to the Catawba Athletic Hall Of Fame.

Ron was an Honorable Mention All Carolinas performer in both 1973 and ’74. He proudly wore the white Riddell TK2-B shell with a one-inch red center stripe and one-inch navy blue flanking stripes. The distinctive Catawba “C” logo within a red oval is augmented by the tomahawk award stickers, indicative of Ron’s recognition for 100 yard rushing outings. The helmet is beautifully finished with a Dungard DG 120 mask and in his game photos it is obvious that the helmet retains a beige snubber rather than the leather wildcat anterior piece that became prominently utilized in the early to mid-seventies. Ron may have begun his collegiate career with one of the older TK shells from the equipment room and retained it throughout his entire time at Catawba. The educational opportunity that Ron received due to the football scholarship his hard work and dedication earned for him was rewarded with a degree and a successful career as a financial consultant. He has remained athletically active, recently winning the 2017 Virginia State Senior Olympics in the 50 meter sprint. Most significantly, he provided the best-of-the-best parenting for his son Dan. He was blessed with three children who became college graduates and Dan has always credited the attainment of his own scholarship to the lessons learned from his father.  Catawba College Athletic Hall Of Fame honoree Ronald H. Adams attained a great deal more in life than what his background may have predicted and as son Dan stated, “at age 33 I can look back and say that football had always been the thing that brought our family together.” Our HELMET HUT staff believes this beautiful Catawba helmet will always be a reminder of this.