Dr. Ken Leistner 1965
(Authentic Reproduction)



All of my HELMET REFLECTIONS articles in the HELMET NEWS section of HELMET HUT have been enjoyable to write. While my primary professional focus is strength enhancement and injury prevention and rehabilitation for athletes, especially professional and collegiate football players, the personal follow-up to my series on head and neck injuries and helmet evolution has allowed me to share my memories of the University Of Cincinnati program and that of our opponents. I knew nothing about Cincinnati, the University, or Ohio when I arrived on campus but have remained in love with all three to this day and maintain many professional and personal contacts there. I ate Cincinnati-made Graeter's Ice Cream in 1965 and it is still the only ice cream I will eat today! I didn't know that Cincinnati even then, was a stepping stone for so many famous and innovative coaches and the list included Sid Gillman and his assistant Paul Dietzel, Chuck Studley, Dick MacPherson, Ralph Staub, Homer Rice, Leamon Bennett, Ray Callahan, Dick Selcer, and too many others to name here. All went on to successful head collegiate coaching jobs or served as long time pro assistants. There are six pro head coaches on the above list alone. I didn't know that in the early to late sixties, Ohio colleges at all levels played fantastic football because their high school football was arguably, the best in the country with Texas and Pennsylvania. Our frosh team boasted Greg Cook, the 1969 AFL Rookie Of The Year with the Bengals and Lloyd Pate who played with the Bills. Redshirts who initially practiced with us included my roommate Milt Balkum (CFL), Jim O'Brien, an Air Force Academy transfer whose last second field goal beat the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970 season's Super Bowl as a receiver and kicker with the Colts, and Tom Rossley who became an NFL coordinator. The varsity was power-packed with future pros Clem Turner (FB, Bengals and Broncos), Jay Bachman (C, Broncos), Rich Lucka (T, CFL), Bob Taylor (T, in camp with the Raiders), Dick Fugere (LB, in camp with the Redskins), Bill Bailey (HB, in camp with the Rams), and Dolph Banks (HB, CFL). Most were home-grown in Ohio.

All of our in-state opponents could say that they also had a lot of talented players who were typical of Ohio football and who had a shot or played in the pros. Their coaching staffs too, were loaded. As an example, the 1965 Dayton five-man staff was comprised of Head Coach John McVay (head coach NY Giants and the front office administrator who built five Super Bowl teams for the 49'ers), Tom Moore (Peyton Manning's current offensive coordinator with the Colts), George Perles (former head coach and AD at Michigan State and long time Steeler assistant who built their run of Super Bowl defenses under Chuck Noll), Jerry Hanlon (long time Bo Schembechler offensive line coach at Michigan), and Tom Eaglowski (who was McVay's assistant everywhere the former coached and as a head coach in high school, developed Hall Of Famer Alan Page).

I was permanently impressed and motivated by the playing and coaching talent around me, motivated enough to later become a high school football coach who tried to emulate all I had learned before returning to school for a professional degree as a health care provider. This beautiful Cincinnati RK2 helmet from 1965 is representative of the design and style worn by all of Studley's teams. The gleaming white helmet augmented red jerseys with black and white sleeve stripes and white pants with two thin stripes, a classic and time-honored look. Studley, who became an assistant coach with the Bengals and then a defensive coordinator with the 49'ers, Bengals, Dolphins, and Oilers where he was also head coach, was replaced by Homer Rice in 1967 and the team switched to solid red headgear and black jerseys but the identifying red and black UC, denoting the school colors, black numerals in the rear, red center stripe and for me, the double face bar mask augmented with the protective Schutt U-Bar will always be the strongest reminder of classic college football.    



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