William & Mary
1970s Iron Indians
serious football fans, taking the time to know the basic facts about their
favorite schools is expected. Yet for some colleges and universities, the
basic facts are both little known and perhaps more impressive than the media
hype placed before the public from the large, football powerhouses. The
College of William And Mary for years, was a competitive member of the
Southern Conference and the conference itself can boast of having been the
fourth oldest football conference in the nation. Now a Football Championship
Subdivision member, William and Mary spent the 1960's and '70's battling
West Virginia, East Carolina, and Virginia Tech along with other Southern
Conference major college programs that got shuttled to Division 1 AA like
Richmond and The Citadel. While the football program has had great players
and Hall of Fame coaches, it is their outstanding academic record that
separates it from the pack. As the second oldest college in the nation after
Harvard, it has rightfully earned the reputation of offering an Ivy League
level education while being a public university with a strong and honored
research basis. Its bucolic setting in Williamsburg, Virginia has served as
the educational seat for former United States Presidents Jefferson, Monroe,
and Tyler while producing a list of alumni that is the rival of Harvard or
Yale in intellectual accomplishment.
Against this backdrop of beauty and educational focus, William and Mary has remained a very strong FCS program with many moments of glory during their four decades long stint in the Southern Conference. A reminder of those years is this beautiful helmet, preserved from the early to mid-seventies reign of head coach Jim Root. Seen to be another in the line of good coaches W&M usually hired, not even the most astute observers could have known that Root, a former Chicago Cardinals quarterback, would be saddled with the distinction of having to follow Hall of Fame coaches Marv Levy and Lou Holtz.
Levy's 1964 -
'68 tenure and Holtz's 1969 through ’71 three year run, with the assistance of
his defensive coordinator Bobby Ross, produced good, but not great teams. Holtz
in fact, took the Indians as they were then known, to the Tangerine Bowl where
their loss to the number twelve ranked Toledo squad dropped them to an annual
mark of 5-7. Ever the magician and comedian, Holtz's most enduring line
regarding his time at W&M related to a loss which he explained as "We had too
many Marys and not enough Williams."
The quarterback who spanned the Levy and Holtz years was Jimmye Laycock who became the head coach after Root in 1980 and remarkably has posted a great 208-145-2 record with twenty winning seasons entering 2011.
The Jim Root era Indians had a few excellent players like future New York Jets tight end Dennis Cambal and receiver David Knight, and long time college and pro coaches Rip Scherer and Mark Duffner. The school colors of gold and green were highlighted in the MacGregor clear shell helmet that had the identifying Kelly green "WM" decals placed upon the inside of the shell, with the white center stripe and Kelly green flanking stripes.
The Green Bay gold shell was decorated with white and green award stickers for the players who earned them. The green home jerseys with white and gold sleeve stripes and gold pants gave a perfect "period look," a time-honored classic look to the William and Mary uniform with the clear shell helmet the crowning touch.