1961 - 72 Sun Devils
(Authentic Reproduction)




1961 saw long-term starters Zuger and three-time All Conference pick Jones complete their eligibility and the emergence of end Roger Locke who ran and blocked well. Zuger, who had been a favorite at ASU as a QB, DB, and punter had a wonderful ten-year career with Hamilton of the CFL as their quarterback. He started his CFL career by throwing for 572 yards in his very first game and eventually led them to five Grey Cup appearances. George Flint closed out his Sun Devil career as a two-time All Border Conference tackle and played guard for the Bills from ’62 through 1968. Larry Reaves, the other tackle and another All Conference performer showed enough to sign a pro contract and newcomer Charley Taylor was a do-it-all halfback who also was a feared kick returner. A second consecutive 7-3 season was the reward in a rebuilding year. For sharp-eyed fans, it was noted that the side numbers on the helmets had been slightly changed. The three-inch Cardinal numerals were maintained but Kush chose a different number font, more closely copying the style worn by Syracuse University and the numeral “1” was distinctive as it had a top serif but lacked a base. In 1962, after years of trying to move up in stature, the ASU program was accepted into the Western Athletic Conference with stiffer competition and more recognition. Kush recruited in a commensurate manner, bringing in what would be the start of a continuous line of NFL and CFL talent. They debuted with a 7-2-1 slate, putting up great offensive statistics and a very fast backfield. Olympic sprinter Henry Carr manned one halfback spot and Charley Taylor the other. Tony Lorick was the swing man and new QB John Jacobs, finishing the season as the WAC’s leading thrower, often found Roger Locke on the other end of his passes. Locke had been All Border Conference in ’61 and repeated as an All WAC choice in ’62. Still lost in a media void, Taylor did not receive his deserved All America mention. If '62 featured some speed, 1963 featured the fastest backfield in the nation with seven backs running sub-10.0 100-yard sprints. Carr the former Olympian was of course, the most feared speed-burner but Taylor who went on to a Pro Football Hall Of Fame career with the Redskins, and a more powerful All WAC Tony Lorick couldn’t be ignored. Lorick adapted well to his move to FB and became a very dependable NFL back for the Colts and Saints. Gary Lewis was almost overlooked yet played well for the Forty Niners for six seasons and another for the Saints as a versatile running back. These talented athletes ran behind QB Jacobs who went to camp with the Cowboys and he in turn looked to Eastern Arizona JC transfer Jerry Smith to add to his selection of receivers. John Seedborg’s punting was a weapon and he played with the Redskins in ’65. Joe Kush not unexpectedly, was the scrappy leader of the line. 8-1 was a great finish for the team but they did not play enough in-conference games to qualify for the WAC title.  




Known best as one of the NFL's great receivers and a Pro Football Hall Of Famer, Charley Taylor was a running back and wingback at Arizona State and an All WAC talent. Appearing slender at 6'3" and 210 pounds, Taylor's speed and excellent hands made him dangerous coming out of the backfield at ASU where he teamed with punishing Tony Lorick. The emergence of Arizona State as a "name" power coincided with Taylor's performance. The Grand Prairie, Texas Dolworth High School athlete could have played any position on the field. Initially a running back with Washington and their first-round draft pick, Taylor, though NFL Rookie Of The Year at halfback, was moved to the flank in his third season and immediately led the NFL in receptions.  Thirteen years later, still with the Redskins, he had accumulated 9110 yards on 649 receptions and seventy-nine TD's. He was an excellent kick return man also until his value on the end made it prudent to remove him from this special teams duty. Taylor was a second or first team All NFL player six times and was selected to eight Pro Bowl games.  


Still not playing enough WAC games to qualify for the conference title, ASU did diversify the schedule a bit to get more national exposure in '64. They lost quite a bit of their backfield speed to graduation but an 8-2 record was achieved as Carr returned for another season at HB before leaving to play DB and return kicks for the Giants. Larry Todd, future Raiders RB and return man and Gene Foster before heading off to San Diego for a quietly impressive six season career, assumed the leading rushing positions. After his Chargers’ stint, the durable Foster continued his pro career in Canada from 1971 through ’74. Their output was augmented by junior HB Ben Hawkins who proved his versatility with forty-two receptions and also led the team in interceptions. DB Hal Lewis was good enough to eventually play briefly with the Broncos. QB John Torok put up 2226 yards as the offense became a passing oriented express, especially as Jerry Smith showed great improvement, catching forty-two passes. Smith had a lengthy and productive career, much of it opposite ASU teammate Charley Taylor, as a receiver and tight end for the Redskins, playing from 1965 through 1977. San Francisco City College transfer QB Bob Lee did not find ASU to his liking and transferred again, this time to College Of The Pacific and he later had a lengthy pro career, primarily with the Vikings.  


In 1965 the Arizona State program was finally eligible for the WAC title but the Sun Devils weren't up to the task, falling to 6-4 against an improved schedule that included Washington State. Once again the victims of a slow start, they won their last five games and did it with defense, anchored by wrestler and noseguard Curly Culp who quickly became legendary on campus for cracking the helmets of three teammates. Contra Costa (CA) JC transfer Travis Williams put speed and power into the attack with FB Jim Bramlet. Ben Hawkins made his Nutley, N.J. neighborhood proud, emerging as a full-time receiving threat and gaining All America mention before going off to the Eagles. Hawkins later became a respected coach, working at his alma mater, the Philadelphia Eagles, and in the USFL with San Antonio and the Arizona Wranglers. The equipment staff altered the type of numeral “6” and “9” relative to that used from 1961 through ’64, using a more rounded “Charger style” font that was noticeable on the side helmet numbers. They retained this look through the 1968 season. Expecting more in '66, the team fell to 5-5 with a defense led by newcomer and All WAC LB Ron Pritchard, Rancho Santiago (CA) JC transfer John Pitts who became the Bills first-round choice and played in the pro ranks from ’67 through 1975 with Buffalo, Denver, and Cleveland, T Larry Hendershot whose speed earned him a season at LB with the Redskins, and the immovable Culp. The backfield was again loaded and included FB Jim Bramlet, HB "Roadrunner" Travis Williams who later had a few good years with the Packers, speedy Max Anderson (another of many JC transfers), QB John Goodman, and a new end with the distinctive name of Fair Hooker. 


Not satisfied with the performance of the team, Kush shook up the staff before spring practice of 1967, bringing in a number of new coaches and this resulted in a resurgence to 8-2. Hooker was still considered to be an under achiever, but help arrived in the form of Trinidad (Colorado) JC transfer Larry Walton who was an immediate contributor. The rushing of All WAC HB Anderson who added 1224 yards to the team total and then went off to the Bills and Hamilton in the CFL, and FB Art Malone continued the pipeline of excellent backs. JD Hill went to flanker in the pro-style attack and Ken "The Blade" Dyer had a big year on the other end of a three-receiver set, later playing both WR and DB for the Broncos. Center George Hummer was All WAC, continuing the excellence he had shown at Phillipsburg, NJ High School where he led his squad to an undefeated 1964 season. Curly Culp and Ron Pritchard, wrestling teammates and weight training partners, led an improving defense with Culp gaining All American notice and becoming NCAA Heavyweight Wrestling Champion. Culp was an integral part of the Chiefs Super Bowl team and then played with the Oilers. Pritchard earned his second All Conference honor and was ASU’s Most Valuable Player while DB Wes Plummer had a big year and also was named to the All Conference team.  




Growing up hauling fifty-gallon barrels of garbage on his father's Yuma, AZ pig farm, the 6'2", 265 pound Curly Culp arrived at Arizona State as a strong and sought after athlete. Always a winner, Culp and future eleven-year NFL receiver Ron Jessie led their Yuma (AZ) High School team to within one point of beating state champion Mesa H.S. At ASU, Culp excelled on the football field and as a wrestler, winning the NCAA Heavyweight Championship as a senior. He remained undefeated on the mat his final two seasons at Arizona State, going 45-0. Known for his outstanding levels of strength, Culp once cracked the helmets of three teammates in one season of scrimmages. At his noseguard position, Curly was named as a First Team All American by Time Magazine and The Sporting News for his vigorous line play in 1967. He topped off his collegiate accomplishments by being elected as the first African-American Homecoming King at Arizona State before being chosen by the Broncos in the second round of the 1968 draft. Culp anchored the Kansas City Chiefs defense from 1968 through 1974 and then played with the Oilers through 1979. In his final season of 1980, he played his first ten games with the Oilers and finished the season, and his long, outstanding career with the Lions. Culp has his own taxi cab company in Austin, Texas and reputedly remains very big and very strong!


1968 brought a repeat finish of 8-2 and LB Pritchard became the first Sun Devil to be named as a First Team Consensus All American. He completed his collegiate career as a three-time All WAC choice and two-time team MVP. He made a name for himself as the first-round pick of  the Oilers and completed a nine-year pro career with the Bengals. With his pro football career ended by a knee injury, Pritchard later dabbled as a professional wrestler and was voted entry to The College Football Hall Of Fame. Defensive help came from DE John Helton who turned down an NFL offer, instead playing in Calgary of the CFL. Between 1969 and 1982 Helton was a nine-time Canadian League All Star and one of its most dominant players, finishing his career as a Hall Of Fame member and voted as the number twelve greatest player in CFL history. With two-time All Conference center George Hummer up front who later played with Edmonton in the CFL, Art Malone spearheaded the offense, finishing fifth in NCAA rushing stats with 1431 after being moved from FB to HB, and was named WAC Player Of The Year . Walton lent receiving support and had a productive seven-season career with the Lions and one with Buffalo. J.D. Hill, a track speedster who churned a 9.3/100 during spring track while wearing sweatpants, and Fair Hooker, who flashed enough productivity to be drafted by the Browns, his name a favorite of sportscaster Don Meredith, were the primary receivers. Soph QB  "Spaghetti Joe" Spagnola of Brooklyn led the team to within a game of the WAC title but their early season loss to  Wyoming made them come up short.

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