1967 Ducks
(Authentic Reproduction)



As Len Casanova moved into the position of full-time Athletic Director, his trusted assistant Jerry Frei was promoted as Oregon's new head coach. Frei had been a tough guard at Wisconsin who was further toughened after he flew sixty-seven reconnaissance mission flights for the Army Air Force in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was a successful high school coach in Oregon, worked as an assistant at Willamette University for three seasons, and then joined Casanova's Oregon staff in 1955. His head coaching debut coincided with the opening of new Autzen Stadium. On-campus Hayward Field with its limited seating capacity had been rarely used and by 1966, almost all of the Ducks’ home games were played at Portland’s Multnomah Stadium. With the assistance of the Autzen family whose donation got the ball rolling, the funds were raised to complete the new stadium in Eugene. Ironically, Thomas Autzen, whose self-started company altered the plywood industry with new wood laminate manufacturing and milling procedures, was a graduate of rival Oregon State University but his fund raising and singular large donation to the UO came because his son attended Oregon. With a new head coach and new stadium came a new helmet design. Frei dressed his Ducks in a kelly green shell that was adorned on each side by a simple but attractive Green Bay gold interlocking “UO” logo that had rounded edges and was bordered in white. Frei’s debut, both in the home opener which was the inaugural game within the confines of the new stadium and for the season as head coach, was tough. Heavily favored Colorado snuck past his Ducks 17-13 as Casanova and Colorado’s AD Dallas Ward did the television commentary due to a strike by ABC-TV employees. At 2-8 it was a frustrating season for Frei and the team with the lack of a consistent rushing attack and instability at quarterback contributing causes. Promising soph QB Tom Blanchard went out early with knee surgery and one of the subs was another soph, John Harrington. Claxton Welch was an excellent and versatile HB, and soph FB Andy Maurer, “The Prospect Piledriver” saw action. Jim Evenson, a big FB who had transferred in from JC had a very productive CFL career from 1968 through '74. All American DB Jim “Yazoo” Smith was once again the shining light on defense and he was the Redskins first-round draft choice. Unfortunately, the return-man and DB suffered a severe cervical spine injury in the final game of his rookie season and the injury ended his promising career. Middle guard George Dames was a tough defender but this area too needed assistance if the Ducks were to improve.

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