Iowa State University

1954 - 56 Cyclones
(Authentic Reproduction)




New head coach Vince DiFrancesca was a former guard who captained the 1946 Northwestern team, and played well enough to be drafted by the Steelers. He made a name for himself as a young, innovator by using the Split-T formation at Western Illinois and taking the Leathernecks to an impressive 38-7 record between 1949 and 1953. He brought in top assistants in Alex Agase and Jerry Carle. He  also brought in a new uniform design which included a simplification of the helmet to a plain Sunflower gold shell. His 3-6 debut very much mirrored the last few seasons of his predecessor Abe Stuber. QB was by committee with Jerry Finley getting much of the time. FB Burkett supplied most of the rushing power and predictably was named to the Conference's very first All Academic team. With some combat-toughened vets returning from the military to help out the inexperienced sophs for 1955, more than the 1-7-1 record had been expected. DiFrancesca however, was hampered by playing sophomores over sixty-percent of the time. The tackles were the only bright spots with 223-pound Oliver Sparks and smaller Ray Tweeten trying to hold the line. The sub-par offense could manage but 1672 total yards for the season. With victories over Denver and Drake the only ones for the '56 season, the rebuilding program was not taking hold. Tackles Andris Poncius and Chuck Muelhaupt stepped up to excel with the latter playing in the CFL and two seasons with Buffalo. HB Chuck Latting was dependable, but little else impressed in a 2-8 season. Though he was popular with his players DiFrancesca was released at the end of the year having compiled a 6-21-1 record with only two conference victories. He also failed to place even one player on the All Conference list in his three seasons but later had success coaching Carroll (WI) College to a 62-43-5 record between 1959 and 1971. Once again, the Cyclones were in need of a boost.    

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