University of Georgia
1964 - Bulldogs
By the early 1960’s the University of Georgia had known a great deal of football glory under their long time head coach Wallace Butts. His head coaching debut came in 1939, extended through the 1960 season and resulted in a record of 140-86-9 with both the 1942 and ’46 National Championships to his credit. With the inclusion of four Southeastern Conference Championships, Butts naturally was one of the most highly respected head coaches in the nation. His innovative approach to the game incorporated a great deal more passing than was usually seen at most programs, especially those in the south. His 1942 squad featured the great Charley Trippi and Heisman Trophy recipient Frank Sinkwich and many historians believe that if it wasn’t for the interruption of the Second World War, his talented squad would have challenged for many more championships.
The Bulldogs were far from those great teams of 1942 and ’46 by the close of the 1950’s as the rest of the SEC caught up with Butts’ offenses, but the 1959 team flexed enough muscle to win the Conference title. That was Butts’ last hurrah and in 1960 he stepped down, continuing to serve as athletic director through 1963. Succeeded by former Georgia player and assistant coach Johnny Griffith, the Dawgs stumbled and Griffith’s inability to motivate what was seen as a squad that had more talent than the record reflected, was compounded by the infamous game rigging charges against Butts and Alabama head coach Paul Bryant. Both Bryant and Butts were eventually vindicated in court, winning major libel suits against the Saturday Evening Post that had published the alleged charges but the damage to the morale of the coaching staff, players, and fan base had been done. Griffith was ousted following the disappointing 4-5-1 mark of ’63 and Vince Dooley took the reins.
It was clear to all that
former Auburn quarterback Dooley was hired to restore Georgia’s stature as
quickly as possible. He in turn made it clear to the players that he was going
to do just that through hard work, academic focus, and a no-nonsense approach.
Kicker Ray Etter noted that “…things definitely felt different once Coach Dooley
got there. I think a lot of guys were afraid of Coach Dooley at first because
they didn’t know what to expect.” Whether they expected it or not, they were
given a lot of hard work and pushed to demonstrate an all out effort in every
practice. Alabama, led by Joe Namath beat the Dawgs decisively in the ’64 opener
but as Etter also expressed, “…you got the sense that every week we were getting
better.” With a staff that included Erk Russell, Hootie Ingram and holdover Ken
Cooper, the program was turned around in short order. 1964's 7-3-1 record
included a Sun Bowl victory over Texas Tech and in '66 the SEC Championship
trophy was in their hands.
Of course under Dooley’s leadership Georgia became a consistent winner with the pinnacle being the great National Championship team led by Herschel Walker. With Dooley’s great coaching legacy came the iconic University of Georgia football helmet. The Bulldogs had been known through the suspension era for their silver shells. For three games of the 1962 season, they added a squared red “G” on each side, a design created by letterman Wallace Williamson. Coach Griffith returned to the all-silver shell for his final season but Dooley introduced the red shell with a one-inch white center stripe, augmented by a black “G” overlaid upon a white oval that closely mimicked the look of the successful Green Bay Packers. White two-inch player identifying numerals were affixed to the rear of the helmet and it the entire “look” has remained a favorite of fans throughout the nation. This specific Riddell "husky" helmet was issued to and worn by the Bulldogs number 36, placekicker Stanley Crawford of the 1964, '65, and '66 squads that turned Georgia's football fortunes around.
If interested in any of these Georgia helmets please click on the photos below.