Iowa State University

1957 - 60 Cyclones
(Authentic Reproduction)



New head coach Jim Myers had been the line coach for Red Sanders at UCLA and brought back the Tennessee balanced line version of the Single Wing. Former UCLA playing great Rudy Feldman came with Myers as an effective assistant and would later serve as the head coach at New Mexico and a long time NFL defensive coach. Myers returned the Cyclones to the more traditional gold shell and added white three-inch thin rounded "Charger" style player identification numerals to each side. Most of the players wore the Adams two-bar white mask on these classic helmets. Korean War vet and walk-on Dwight Nichols was effective as the tailback taking the direct snap in the Single Wing and was All Big Seven, leading the conference in rushing and total offense as a sophomore. His efforts in a 7-7 tie against big favorite Syracuse gained national attention. 4-5-1 was an improvement for the lowly Cyclones and they immediately gained a reputation for playing tough football. Although Myers was satisfied at Iowa State, he felt that an offer to accept the Texas A&M head coaching job upon the departure of Paul Bear Bryant was too good to pass up. Unfortunately, the Aggies were coming off of probation, he couldn't match Bryant's success, and after four seasons he was released. Myers became one of Tom Landry's top aides with the new Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, a position he kept until retirement.  
With Coach Myers leaving for the vacant Texas A&M job, Clay Stapleton was hired from Tommy Prothro's Oregon State staff for the '58 season. The hire was made in part because he would continue to run the Tennessee version of the Single Wing offense which he had learned as a college teammate of Myers at Tennessee. Thirty-seven sophs were on the sixty-three man roster and of the new men, end Tom Watkins, a transfer from East LA JC, stood out. The star however was junior Dwight Nichols who again was an All Conference choice at tailback, and the nation's number-three rusher with 815 yards, leading the Big Eight in the process. Amazingly, Nichols play earned him the Conference MVP Award while the Cyclones failed to win a conference game! End Don Webb made the All Big Eight team with his fine two-way play and DB Chuck Lamson was a ball hawk. The 4-6 record held the promise of more as the sophs gained experience, especially with the top-rated pass defense in the nation.
Before the 1959 season began, the Cyclones lost DB Chuck Lamson who transferred to Wyoming to play for Bob Devaney and later had a good five-year career with the Vikings and Rams.  A brutal summer conditioning program whittled the original squad of fifty-five down to thirty and they were forever more known as Iowa State's "Dirty Thirty" as they compiled a 7-3 mark and battled for the Big Eight crown right down to the final game against Oklahoma. The big story was the "Tennessee version" of the Single Wing rushing attack as captain TB Nichols finished as the number-three rusher in the country and Tom Watkins, moved from end to FB, was number-two with 843 yards. Nichols completed his career as the Big Eight career rushing leader, the conference MVP, a three-time All Big Eight selection, and a '59 All American. Nichols was drafted by the new AFL's Buffalo Bills but eschewed the cold weather (as he said, "Its even colder than Iowa in Buffalo") and instead earned his Masters degree and was successful in the insurance industry. All Big Eight end Don Webb excelled as the defense rather quietly led the Big Eight in total defense, yielding just 2095 yards. With Nichols gone and the tailback spot in the Single Wing becoming an offensive vestige, 1960 saw Iowa State placing soph Dave Hoppman into this now archaic position but he became the Big Eight's top ground-gainer. He was helped by a huge game against Detroit where he rushed for 224-yards and rolled up 320 in total offense. Fullback Tom Watkins was the number-two conference rusher, All Conference, and made some All American teams for his versatile play. He played well at RB for the Browns in '61 and then for the Lions from 1962 through '67, completing his career in '68 with the Steelers. In '63 and '64, Watkins led the NFL in punt returns. Once again end Webb was outstanding, going on to an eleven-year career at DB with the Patriots. The Cyclones repeated at 7-3 and bested Oklahoma 10-6.

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