University of Iowa

1954 - 55 Hawkeyes
(Authentic Reproduction)




For the 1954 season Coach Evashevski opened the season at home on September 25th with a 14-10 victory over Michigan State and followed up with another home win against Montana 48-6. In both contests, Iowa wore their traditional home black jerseys and the Green Bay gold helmet with black one-inch center stripe. When the Hawkeyes faced Michigan at Ann Arbor on October 9th, the team came onto the field with black helmets that were augmented with a one-inch Green Bay gold center stripe. Unfortunately, Michigan pulled out a pressure-packed 14-13 win but for the remainder of the ’54 season and again in 1955, the Hawks wore their black headgear for all away games. In 1954 Jerry Burns was welcomed onto the staff as the freshmen team mentor and in 1961, he would succeed Evy as head coach. QB Jerry Reichow spearheaded the attack with HB Eddie Vincent, one of the Steubenville trio, the chief ground-gainer with 618 yards. Vincent ripped off a ninety-six yard dash against Purdue that remains a school record. Frank Gilliam, the third of the trio, established himself as a tough receiver. Close losses to Michigan and Ohio State put a damper on the season but they played better than their 5-4 record may have indicated. Guard Calvin Jones was named consensus All American for ‘54, this time to a record fifteen different post-season teams. 


As the 1955 football season began, fans were geared up for a big senior season from Reichow who later played with the Lions from 1956-'59 and then became one of the foundational players for the new Minnesota Vikings in 1960, playing through 1964, and inspirational captain, guard Calvin Jones. With obvious talent, the Hawkeyes could only muster three wins in a 3-5-1 year that found leading rusher Vincent gaining a minimal 381 yards and soph end Jim Gibbons leading the receivers with but sixteen receptions. Frank Gilliam missed the entire season with a broken leg which curtailed the offensive production. Vincent went into politics in later years and became Mayor of Inglewood, California. Jones was a bright spot, Iowa’s first winner of the Outland Trophy and again a consensus All American, making him a three-year All American and three-time All Big Ten honoree! Jones went to the CFL to play and in one season established himself as a star of the future. All Iowans and football fans across the nation and in Canada were shocked when he perished in a plane crash on December 9, 1956. With players and fans disappointed in the season’s results, Coach Evashevski decided to change the offense.





The youngest of seven children, Calvin Jones’ father passed away when he was a one-year old. Raised by his mother in Steubenville, Ohio, Jones excelled on the high school football field and committed to play for Ohio State coach Woody Hayes. Close to his two high school teammates Eddie Vincent and Frank Gilliam, the three had wanted to attend college together but Ohio State would not offer the three African-American players as “a package”. When Vincent and Gilliam accepted scholarships to Iowa and stopped by on their way to Iowa City to bid farewell to their good friend, Jones decided to travel with them and headed to Iowa. Once on campus, he decided to stay and he accepted their scholarship offer. The administration of the Big Ten Conference investigated the signing of “The Steubenville Trio” and found that there were no illegal inducements or rules violations in their recruitment or signing. Jones stated that “They treated me like a white man…” and thus he decided to stay with his friends at Iowa. Jones was an immediate star, a three-time All Conference pick who was named to a number of All American teams as a sophomore. In both 1954 and ’55, Jones became Iowa’s first two-time consensus All American. He was Iowa's first player and the first African-American player  to win the Outland Trophy and was a tenth-place vote getter for the Heisman Trophy. A solid student, Jones saw more employment opportunity with Winnipeg of the CFL than he did with the NFL and in his first season, was named to the CFL All Star squad. Returning from the All Star game, he had intended to fly to Pasadena to watch his high school friend Gilliam, who had missed the entire 1955 season with a broken leg, play in the January 1, 1957 Rose Bowl game. Tragically, Jones' plane crashed and he perished. His number 62 is one of only two, with Nile Kinnick’s the other, that has been retired by Iowa and he remains recognized as the greatest of Iowa’s linemen and is a member of The College Football Hall Of Fame.

If interested in any of these IOWA helmets please click on the photos below.