1964 - 71 Golden Bears
(Authentic Reproduction)



Arriving at about the same time as the period of campus turmoil that included the Free Speech Movement, numerous anti-war demonstrations, and protest marches was alumnus Ray Willsey, a star on the 1951-'52 Cal squads of Pappy Waldorf who came directly from his post as the Washington Redskins defensive backfield coach. Needless to say, with Cal Berkeley almost always in the forefront of the nightly news as ground-zero of the youth protest movement, recruiting became extremely difficult. He was determined to stiffen the poor defense that had been evident over the previous seasons and it was the improved defensive play during his tenure that often overcame the lack of star players. Willsey introduced his own helmet style, featuring Cal’s standard navy blue shell that now had a Vegas gold block “C” on each side. He made good use of QB Craig Morton who stood out despite the team's 3-7 record to be named All American. Morton threw for new conference records of 2121 yards on 185 completions and thirteen TD's, big numbers for that era. His high school battery-mate Jack Schraub caught forty-seven of the passes and placed fifth in the country. RB Tom Blanchfield was good running or catching and Willsey succeeded in elevating the intensity level of the squad. The 27-13 win over Navy and Roger Staubach was the season highlight.


The Campbell, CA three sport star could have gone anywhere in the nation to play college football but chose Cal, probably never imagining that he would not play on a winning team. The first of Cal's pro-style dropback passers, he insured that Cal, despite a lack of talent, was always dangerous and competitive.  He started slowly, playing behind seniors his first season before taking over at the season's half-way point. Nicknamed "The Hummer" for his rifle-shot passes, he set a school record with fourteen touchdown throws as a junior and then blossomed in '64 when new coach Willsey came in. Morton finished at Cal with career marks of 4501 passing yards and a long-standing record of thirty-six touchdown passes, all of which earned him entry to The College Football Hall Of Fame. His eighteen-year pro career spanned 1965-'82, playing with the Dallas Cowboys, Giants, and Denver Broncos, taking both the Cowboys and Broncos to Super Bowls. After his playing days ended, he was the Broncos QB coach and a two-year head coach of the USFL Denver Gold. 

Morton was gone entering the ’65 season but the record improved to 5-5 primarily due to a tougher defense. West Hills CC transfer DT Dan Goich teamed with LB Steve Radich to present an intense roadblock. Six opponents averaged but 6.6 points per game. Rugby star Tom Relles ran well from HB and offensive guard John Garamendi became a California gubernatorial candidate in 1982. It seemed as if the Bears had turned the corner. QB Barry Bronk, FB Barry Bennett, and HB Jim Sheridan led an adequate offense in 1966 but again, the strength of the squad was on the defense. DT Goich went on to Hartford in the Continental League before squeezing out a five-season NFL career with the Lions, Saints, and Giants. Soph noseguard Ed White was immediately effective and All West Coast 6'7" DB Wayne Stewart used his height to snare three interceptions that were returned for TD's. The record was only 3-7 but Willsey was starting to get a few genuine players. QB Bronk who started the first seven games of 1967 eventually lost his starting job to soph Randy Humphries but both found a great target in 6'7" TE Wayne Stewart, the All Coast DB in '66 who was switched to the offense. Using the "Alley Oop" pass that allowed Stewart to out jump defenders, the passing attack was improved, though hampered by an absent rushing game. The Bears 41-8 loss to Notre Dame was offset by a 10-9 upset over Michigan and that kind of inconsistency dogged the team all year with a 3-1 start followed by four straight losses. The 5-5 final tally was a result of great noseguard play by White and the six INT's of DB Ken Wiederman, both of whom were All Conference. Willsey, a former NFL defensive coach, was in his glory in 1968, as much for the play of his nationally recognized "Bear Minimum Defense" as for the 7-3-1 record in the newly re-organized Pacific Athletic Conference 10. He put his best athletes on the defense and the result included three shutouts, and a per game yield of only ten points and 252 total yards. For the entire ’68 season, the Bears gave up five rushing touchdowns! NG Ed “The Goose” White was the star. The San Diego prep standout whose high school stadium was later named after him, is recognized as one of Cal's best to wear the blue and gold.  A three-time All PAC choice and '68 All American, White starred as an offensive guard in the NFL, playing for the Vikings and Chargers in a career that brought honors and five Pro Bowl appearances from 1969-1985. DB Wiedemann repeated his '67 heroics with six INT's while DE Irby Augustine reinforced the play of White. The offense was acceptable behind QB Randy Humphries, HB Gary Fowler, and tall Wayne Stewart who was second in the conference in receptions, going on to the Jets for four seasons and the Chargers for one.    

1969 was met with optimism as recruiting had improved markedly and the commitment of Santa Ana (CA) star RB Isaac Curtis who led a fine frosh team with his 7.4 yards per carry gave rise to future hope. The varsity's 5-5 record however did not match '68's fine results. JC transfer Steve Curtis won the QB job but a shoulder injury finished him for the season in the fourth game against Washington, paving the way for the return of 1968 back-up Dave Penhall. HB Fowler again was a threat but the consistent offensive weapon was kicker Randy Wersching. Outstanding DB Wiedemann went down with a bad knee and Laney (CA) JC transfer DE Sherman White stepped up his game, teaming with O.Z. White and Augustine who again turned in a fine year at the other defensive flank. Upset wins against USC and Stanford in 1970 contributed to the 6-5 record and had supporters giddy as QB Penhall played great football, throwing to dangerous receivers Steve Sweeney and Geoff DeLapp. Soph HB Isaac Curtis contributed 427 rushing yards in an inconsistent year. Once again kicker Wersching was a valuable weapon, breaking conference records. All Conference DE Sherman White was only steps ahead of linemate O.Z. White and Phil Croyle was a solid linebacker. DB Ray Youngblood put in an All PAC 10 season. Cal began the '71 season inconsistently and matched their 1970 mark of 6-5 but school attorneys spent more time in court with the NCAA than enjoying the games. HB Isaac Curtis, an outstanding track sprinter as well as a star on the gridiron, had been found to have been admitted into Cal illegally as his academic standing did not meet eligibility requirements. This resulted in Cal being stripped of their 1970 NCAA National Track And Field Championship and a move was made by the governing body to have Cal forfeit all of the games Curtis had appeared in. Willsey defied the NCAA, played Curtis in the fall of 1971 and paid the price at the conclusion of the season. Without the support of the Cal administration, he was fired to appease the NCAA and early in '72, Curtis was allowed to transfer to San Diego State with immediate eligibility. He became the Bengals' number-one draft choice in 1973, starring for them until he completed his pro career in 1984 with numerous All Pro honors. Sherman White was named All American at DE and was the Bengals' first round choice, playing well for them for five seasons until moving to the Bills where he put in another seven years. Loren Toews played nicely at DT next to White and Ray Youngblood was the star in the secondary. Another Wersching, Ray, took over the kicking chores, with distinction.

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