Yale Bulldogs

1972 - 1973 Dean Calland Yale Helmet
(Game Worn)

Although the Ivy League was not officially formed until 1956 as an athletic conference, the early history of college football is very much the history of those universities that eventually formed the league. The first fifty years of college football were dominated by these “elite” Eastern schools and even the intended and nationally declared de-emphasis that the league’s establishment announced, still resulted in the occasional Heisman Trophy contenders, All Americans, and nationally recognized teams of excellence. By the early 1960s however, the 1956 changes had reduced the stature of Ivy football. Still, teams stood out and the Yale squads of the early ‘70s certainly were of excellent caliber. During the 1972 through ’75, four year varsity career of the Bulldogs tight end Dean Calland, the team compiled a 28 – 8 mark including a terrific league championship 8 – 1 record in 1974. Unfortunately, the 6’5”, 210 pound Calland did not fully enjoy the ’74 season, missing most of it with an injured hand, leaving him with limited duty. With Head Coach Carm Cozza stating that “Everybody knows that the key to our offense is the power sweep…” the hard blocking Calland was an important rehabilitation project for 1975 and he did not disappoint.

The Charleston, West Virginia native who starred at Pittsburgh’s Mount Lebanon High School opened the season with flare and a seventy-two yard touchdown reception against UConn. He completed ’75 with eleven receptions for over twenty-three yards per catch and consistently cleared the way for quarterback Stone Phillips and running backs Don Gisicki and John Pagliaro during Yale’s 7 – 2 season. A solid player, Calland was also a solid student and he was predictably successful, becoming one of the most highly respected attorneys in his specialized field of Environmental and Natural Resources Law. While Calland’s athletic ability allowed him to stand out on the field,  so did his helmet. Don, one of HELMET HUT’s loyal readers enjoyed our article about the Yale Riddell helmet of the Elis’ 100th captain, Victor Staffieri [ see HELMET HUT http://www.helmethut.com/College/Yale/Yale1976.html ].

He did however notice, while reading the 1973 Yale vs. UConn game program that number 81, tight end Dean Calland, was outfitted with a Spalding Titanite model, distinctly different from the helmets of his teammates. Coincidental to that observation, our HELMET HUT staff would like to present the beautifully preserved 1973 Yale Spalding Titanite helmet confirmed as worn by Mr. Calland, complete with his number 81 marked on the helmet’s interior and Yale’s distinctive “101” decal located on both sides of the white shell. While many university programs wore a commemorative decal to celebrate College Football’s 100th Anniversary in 1969, Yale instead chose to wear a “100” year decal in 1972, marking its own 100th season of organized football participation.

The distinctive marking was so popular that it was continued into 1973 with a “101” or one hundred and first season decal. Calland wore the helmet for his 1972 and ’73 freshman and sophomore seasons, with his head gear standing out from the Riddell models worn by the majority of his teammates. The outer “Spalding Titanite” marking is still clearly read on this collector’s piece that sports a BD 9 mask and the distinctive Yale 1973 helmet logo. Interestingly, this specific helmet has a number of construction components consistent with those used by Riddell during that time period. As Riddell did produce helmets for other companies, it is certainly possible they manufactured this Spalding model or provided fasteners and other components that made for an upgrade to the more usual Spalding Titanite models from those years. Providing the final confirmation that this special helmet did in fact see battle with Mr. Calland, he provided Don with a note stating:

     Hi Don.  Yes, I was #81 during the 4 years 1972 through 1975.  The pictures of the helmet look just like I remember.  Interestingly, I actually have my 1975 helmet… 

Fortunately for our readers, we were able to display the helmet he wore in 1972 and ’73!


A big thanks to Don for all his help!