1969 - 71 Ducks "Dan Fouts"
(Authentic Reproduction)




Being the son of Bob Fouts, the broadcaster of the San Francisco Forty-Niners games, allowed a young Dan to involve himself early in the game of football as he ran around as the team's ball boy. Fouts led his St. Ignatius H.S. team to the San Francisco City Championship and then learned from Oregon assistant coaches Dan Read and George Seifert. Fouts became the spearhead of a wide-open offense, throwing for nineteen Oregon records and career marks of 5995 yards and thirty-seven TD's. Fouts came into his own in the NFL, playing fifteen years for the Chargers and putting up huge numbers that earned him entry to The Pro Football Hall Of Fame. (see HELMET HUT feature

http://www.helmethut.com/Chargers/Fouts.html ).  He helped to lead a moribund San Diego franchise to AFC division champions and was widely recognized as perhaps his era's finest passer. Some of his numbers were staggering; 43,040 yards and 254 touchdowns and he led the NFL in passing yardage for four consecutive seasons. Fouts flourished when Bill Walsh became the Chargers offensive coordinator in 1976 and again in '78 when Don Coryell became the head coach. Fouts became a three-time All Pro, playing in six Pro Bowls within seven seasons. A highly respected player and leader, Fouts has continued in the footsteps of his father by taking his talents to the broadcast booth for NFL games.  


After fielding numerous complaints that men could not get their wives to attend football games with them because they didn't understand the game, and in an attempt to boost noticeably sagging attendance, Enright formed the Daisy Ducks. More than four hundred women came to the initial meeting to get tutored by the coach and the group has remained active to the present day, attending games, conducting fund raising bake sales and other events, and working to support all varsity sports. With the loss of Fouts, the new QB for 1973 was junior Norval Turner who was limited by knee problems. In an accurate predictor of the future, Enright noted that Turner “had a superior football mind.” Turner shared the position with Herb Singleton who excelled late in the season. The rushing attack was provided by HB Don Reynolds who put up 1002 yards and Rick Kane who added 430. 6'6" tight end Russ Francis from Hawaii was an All Conference target and blocker. The son of professional wrestling promoter Ed Francis, Russ had arrived at Oregon with the National High School Record in the javelin throw. The defense remained tough with linemen All Coast Reggie Lewis and George Martin who had been converted from TE, a solid front. Mario Clark and Steve Donnelly were the DB's with the latter an All Conference pick. Even with Fouts gone and a 58-0 whipping of rival Washington, supporters looked at what they thought was obviously good material and were disappointed with Enright's work and the disastrous 2-9 season. Once again pressure was brought to bear upon AD Norv Ritchey and on January 4, 1974 Enright was released. He was hired to coach the offensive line for the Southern California Sun of the new World Football League and after the league folded in the midst of the '75 season, Enright moved on to tutor the O-Line with the Forty-Niners.  


Quarterbacks and receivers coach Don Read was promoted to the head coaching spot for 1974 because of his ability to push the air attack to a higher level. A fine athlete, his father was a professional baseball player in the Pacific Coast League. Read played at Santa Rosa (CA) JC, and then transferred to Oregon to play under Len Casanova in 1955. He left school and served two years in the Army, then finished his education not at Oregon but instead at Sacramento State. He became a successful high school coach in California, then moved up to an assistant's position at Humboldt State where he handled the quarterbacks and running backs. His fine work there led him to Portland State where he served as head coach from 1968-1971. When Dick Enright became Oregon's head man for '72, he brought Read in as his QB coach and offensive coordinator. Given credit for developing Dan Fouts, Read was named the head coach. Future Hawaii head coach Fred Von Appon and former USC QB Steve Sogge stayed on from Enright’s staff. Naming Norval Turner as the starting QB was the first order of business. Turner has gone on to a long and successful coaching career in both the collegiate and pro ranks as a respected coordinator and most recently as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers, and was very much Read's coach on the field. He passed and ran well enough in the new Veer-T offense to allow RB's Reynolds and Kane to excel. Kane would leave after the season and transfer to San Jose State to finish his college eligibility and have a very productive nine-year career in the NFL, eight of them with the Lions. Russ Francis finished his collegiate career and became the Patriots first-round draft pick, playing at an All Pro level there for most of his six seasons. Disgusted by his contract negotiations and the Patriots' attempt to cancel their health insurance responsibilities for paralyzed Pats’ teammate Daryl Stingley, Francis retired for the 1981 season but then returned to spend six seasons with the Forty Niners after listening to the advice of Bill Walsh. Under the offensive minded Read, the Ducks’ defense was vastly improved and ranked first against the run in the PAC-8. George Martin was a standout on the D-line and helped the Giants to their run of championships while playing with them from 1975-'88. After the 21-0 loss to UCLA on November 9th, DT Reggie Lewis, a ’73 All PAC performer, was tossed from the squad for disciplinary reasons. He transferred to San Diego State and later played for the Saints. Mario Clark and All Conference Steve Donnelly led the secondary but they were tagged for big scores by Nebraska (61), Cal (40), and Washington (66) which very much explained eight consecutive losses and the record of 2-9. Improvement was predicted relative to the ’74 season but that improvement amounted to one game, a 3-8 mark for 1975 that was punctuated by the sixty-two points given up to Oklahoma and fifty to UCLA. They only gave up five against San Jose State but could score none against the underdog Spartans in a game that stimulated an oft-repeated quote from Oregon’s President William Boyd. Watching the 5-0 loss on their home field, he said, “I’d rather be whipped in a public square than watch a football game like that.” The offensive output against San Jose sadly, was more typical than not with the offense totaling a touchdown or less in five contests. Read installed more pro-passing formations which helped QB Jack Henderson toss for 1492 yards and RB George Bennett ran for 805 behind stud center Fred Quillan. Darrell Mehl was consistently good at LB and All PAC Mario Clark was the star of the secondary, completing his career as a four-year starter and with thirteen INT’s. Clark became the Bills first-round draft choice, was on the NFL All Rookie team and starred until 1983, completing his career with a season in San Francisco. All PAC DB Chuck Willis proved a good mate for Clark and had a three season stay in the CFL. Overall however, a lack of quality depth and inconsistency was scuttling the plans on both sides of the ball but Read had some relief as Oregon’s fourteen game losing streak was broken in the home victory over Utah in week seven.  


It's not that the 4-7 record of '76 was very far from the Ducks' norm that it was seen as disappointing, rather it was the way in which they lost; 53-0 to USC, 41-0 to Notre Dame, 46-0 to UCLA, and the third straight loss to Washington, Stanford, and Cal under Read. Attendance at home was horrible dipping to an average of 27,180 per game and boosters were miserable with the season finale against almost-as-bad 1-8 and soon to be 1-9 Oregon State christened “The Game Of The Weak” and “The Basement Bowl” by local media. QB Jack Henderson was fine with 1582 passing yards but the running game needed a boost, even with center Fred Qullan supplying the push up front. The defense was on the field a long time in most games and lacked quality depth. Read fulfilled the directive given to him by the administration when he was hired and ran a clean program that demonstrated academic improvement within the squad. Popular with his players, he was not however, given enough time to build the necessary depth and turn the program around. His 9-24 record proved unacceptable and with new Athletic Director John Caine taking heat Read was out, taking on the challenge of coaching NAIA Oregon Tech. Coaxing them to the conference championship in '80, he moved back to the head job at Portland State from 1981-'85 and again won a conference championship. "Air Read" was born with his tenure at Montana as he took the Grizzlies from losers to winners immediately and eventually topped off numerous conference championships with the Division I-AA National Championship in '95 and the National Coach Of The Year honor. Read developed and coached numerous NFL players and coaches, including Norv Turner and June Jones and continues to positively affect the profession with highly-acclaimed coaching publications. The Oregon program seemed to be chaotic and weak with the university showing three head football coaches, four athletic directors, and three school presidents in a ten year period.

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