Kansas State

1978 Wildcats
(Authentic Reproduction)




The Big 8 Conference had a marvelous run through the 1970's. The '50's had them derisively known as "Oklahoma and the Six Dwarves" as the Big Seven grew into the Big 8 but no one challenged the dominance of the Sooners. In the sixties, Bob Devaney brought Nebraska to the fore and OU had a few down years but the remainder of the conference, other than an occasional exception in Missouri or Colorado, could not come close to battling the Big Two of Nebraska and Oklahoma for the Big 8 crown. In the 1970's the 'Huskers and Sooners maintained a stranglehold on the top two spots, were almost always in the running for the National Championship, and dominated their conference but a succession of conference teams did well outside the boundaries of the Big 8 and there was a lot of top-to-almost-the-bottom strength. Consistently Kansas State was not in the running for anything past elevating their losing status to perhaps something better than a three or four-win season. The entire conference expected to "take a hit" with the introduction of '78's new NCAA-mandated scholarship limits. From a forty-five per year allowance and no limit to the number of football players on scholarship at any time, the new thirty maximum per year and a total award of ninety-five players on scholarship at any time, would predict a dilution of Big 8 talent. K-State could ill afford this and Jim Dickey inherited a team that had gone 2-20 in the two preceding seasons, probation for violating scholarship limits and purposeful misidentification of a player, and a shortened spring practice period due to an assistant coach's illegal supervision of an off-season player workout. Dickey, who had been the defensive coordinator at North Carolina, as most new coaches usually did, introduced a new uniform. The helmet was an unusual shade of light slate gray that had a purple tint to it with a one-inch purple center stripe and half-inch white flanking stripes. On each side, Dickey had an interlocking, diagonally oriented purple KSU with white trim that was well-coordinated with the new wide-meshed jerseys and silver pants with purple and white stripes. The team's improved appearance was marked by an improved brand of football as the Wildcats rose to a 4-7 record with three conference victories. The offense showed a lot of spark but Dickey, despite his defensive background, was saddled with the worst defense vs. scoring in the conference.

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