Kansas State

1975-77 Wildcats
(Authentic Reproduction)




Rainsberger was a former Wildcat All Conference star from 1955 through '57 who was smart enough to be named Academic All American. As former team captain, he had great loyalty to K-State and his toughness was reflected as a former Missouri Valley wrestling champion. An emerging Gary Spani would show the ability that later made him a star with the Chiefs but he had little help other than linebacking mate Carl Pennington. After a difficult 10-0 loss to sixth ranked Texas A&M, the Wildcats dropped eight in a row and did not win a conference game on the way to 3-8. They fought bravely against Nebraska and Oklahoma but were steamrolled due to a lack of talent. Paul Coffman showed flashes at TE and would later star at Green Bay but there was little else. Like many new coaches, Rainsberger changed the uniforms and returned to a silver shell with an attractive stripe arrangement of a one-inch purple center stripe with half-inch white and half-inch purple flanking stripes. Each side of the helmet had a diagonally arranged purple KSU trimmed in white and the headgear was worn with a purple home jersey with the white wildcat head on each sleeve as introduced by Vince Gibson, with white neck and sleeve trim for a purple accentuated look that was better than the available talent. The frustration of 1975 paled when compared to the disasters of 1976 and '77. Rainsberger maintained the uniforms and in both '76 and '77, maintained the same 1-10 record. Three years without a conference win sealed the fate of Rainsberger who left his alma mater to become offensive coordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. The 1976 team had a defensive meltdown yielding an average of forty-five points a game to the Big 8's top five teams. All Conference LB Spani was the only bright spot in this bleak run. A positive sign was the sixty-nine point production in the last three games under the leadership of Wendell Hendrikson, a walk-on, 5'9", 155-pound QB. Despite the linebacking play of Gary Spani who went on to a fine nine-year career with the Chiefs, the team was terrible. Even though wide receiver Charley Green led the conference in receptions and no-relation RB Mack Green rushed for 707 yards, the repeat 1-10 record of '77 no doubt sealed the fate of Coach Rainsberger and if the record didn't, off-the-field problems did. Rainsberger awarded thirteen scholarships over the NCAA limit and then was found to have "falsely identified a player in a junior varsity game" to affect his eligibility. The blatant disregard for the rules brought his ouster and Jim Dickey was brought in to right the ship. 

If interested in any of these KSU helmets please click on the photos below.