Iowa State University

1983 - 86 Cyclones
(Authentic Reproduction)



Entering the '83 season, Jim Criner became the new head coach. A former college teammate of John Madden at Cal State San Luis Obispo, Criner had served as a respected assistant at BYU and later under Dick Vermeil at UCLA. He led Boise State to the NCAA Division 1-AA National Championship in 1980 and had a successful run there for seven seasons. Using QB David Archer as his first headliner, Archer set a Big Eight total offense record with 2698 yards and threw for eighteen TD's. He put huge passing numbers up in two of his four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and completed a six-year pro career with the Redskins and Chargers. Adding to the 4-7 record and the glitter of Criner's sophisticated offense was flanker Tracy Henderson whose eighty-one receptions set a new Big Eight record as did his sixteen catches in one game. He became the first Cyclone sophomore to ever be named All American. HB Tommy Davis led a poor rushing attack despite the play of Bruce Reimers who became a long time stalwart as an O-lineman with the Bengals. Criner hired equipment manager Roger Cade and the two of them gave ISU fans a thrill by introducing new helmets. Cade and Criner first changed the color combination that had served the Cy's for years. Noting that a cardinal was a bird that was not actually colored Cardinal but rather, red, Criner had Cade prepare bright red helmets to more closely mimic the bird's true color and any contrast utilized a Green Bay gold. However, during the '83 season, the team's official helmet shell color was Green Bay gold with a true red one-inch center stripe, and on each side, they supplied an interesting new logo. To contrast with the Green Bay gold helmet, the new logo consisted of red cursive "Iowa State" lettering and a red cyclone funnel was connected to and was placed beneath the word State. To set-off this new headgear, a red mask was added as the final highlighting touch. The red helmets were used as a special award. These were adorned with a Green Bay gold one-inch center stripe and the same "Iowa State" cursive lettering decal that the team's official helmet had but in the contrasting Green Bay gold. The cyclone funnel sat beneath the "State" part of the logo. Each week, a designated player of the game, based upon performance the week before, received the honor of wearing the alternate red helmet. In retrospect, most of the honored players were not pleased by the distinction of wearing a different colored helmet as it made them feel like "sitting ducks" when going onto the field to face the opposition. Thus what Criner had hoped would be the establishment of a tradition was scuttled after one season. Six different players were thusly honored that first season. The team tailed off to 2-7-2 in '84 and then rebounded to 5-6 in 1985. In July of '86 the news was made public that Iowa State was under NCAA investigation for thirty-four rules violations. With two games remaining in a season that finished at 6-5, Criner was fired by University President Gordon Eaton as the NCAA revealed illegal recruiting practices that included financial support of a number of junior college players who later joined the Cyclones. As the program was placed on probation assistant coach Chuck Branker, who later became one of the most highly respected personnel men in the NFL with the Redskins and Texans, finished the season as the interim head coach. Criner, who had been recognized as one of the world's best fly-fisherman, went into the fishing supply business in Montana and was extremely successful but the lure of coaching brought him back to NFL-Europe in 1991 and the XFL. Hiring Washington State's Jim Walden left Iowa State toward the back of the Big Eight pack until Dan McCarney took over in '95. He made the Cy's a bowl contender and big-time spoiler for a number of seasons, a role the proud team intends to improve upon under new coach Gene Chizik.

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