University of Miami

1964 - 68 Hurricanes
(Authentic Reproduction)




With Gustafson moving up to the Athletic Director's position, Miami wanted a "name" coach to direct the program on the field. Bob Devaney was interviewed but Nebraska increased his pay and benefits. Hank Stram, a former UM assistant decided to remain with the AFL Chiefs. Ara Parseghian looked as if he was a possibility but he instead left Northwestern and signed with Notre Dame. Losing out on the prominent coaches they sought, they next turned to Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Charlie Tate, a Florida product with a great local reputation. He had been an All State fullback at Jacksonville's Landon High School and an All State baseball player. He had made a name for himself as an All SEC fullback at Florida and then as the head coach who had won four state titles in five years at Miami High School. His incredible record of 43-6-1 was still considered legendary in the area as the Miami High School Stingarees drew such large crowds that their home games were often played at the Orange Bowl. Popular Gustafson assistant coach and former Hurricane player Walt Kichefski remained with the new staff. Putting his stamp on the program, Tate switched from Gustafson's Green Bay gold helmets to a bright gold helmet with a one-inch Kelly green center stripe and began his first season by suspending a number of players for academic fraud and a general lack of discipline. Despite a highly touted 1963 frosh class, Tate brought in junior college players and grumbling began when it was noted that few of the new faces were Floridians. The grumbling got louder after a 4-5-1 record which included losses in the first four games. Smith and Banaszak were oft-injured and more players were tossed from the squad in-season. Behind Fred Biletnikoff's younger brother Bob, who matured under fire in '64, and young Bill Miller at QB (no relation to the former UM receiver), the 1965 team was an up-and-down squad whose 5-4-1 season included another slow start and good games against Florida and Notre Dame (a 0-0 tie). DE Ed Weisacosky who later played well for the Dolphins at LB led a defense that closed strongly. Attendance was good and radio outlets increased until the announcement that pro football in the form of the AFL Miami Dolphins would begin play in 1966. With limited time and dollars to go around, fans were forced to choose between pro and college football and Miami saw an immediate diminishing return with both teams sharing the Orange Bowl. Always a good draw in Miami, the university's average home attendance immediately dropped from 49,183 to 39,471 between 1965 and '66, even with improved play, a direct effect of having to compete with pro football.
Miami could have broken ground in the area of integration early, but having passed on signing local product Cyril Pinder in 1963 who went on to star at Illinois, Miami did not sign their first African-American player, end Ray Bellamy out of Lincoln H.S. until 1966. RB Tom Sullivan was next in 1968 with Chuck Foreman and Burgess Owens following in 1969. While this caused some off-the-field consternation on the part of some, the team went about its business behind the leadership of sophomore defensive end Ted "Mad Stork" Hendricks, a talented 6'8", 220 pounder who could have played any number of positions. He was eventually a three-time All American, fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior and was named as the Outstanding Lineman Of The Year by UPI and even in that first season, was a force to contend with. Overlooked was his honors course of studies in math and psychology. As Coach Kichefski's personal project, Hendricks blossomed and the team followed, finishing '66 with an 8-2-1 mark and having yielded but two TD's on the ground. Future Dolphin DB Tom Beier who was a transfer from Detroit Mercy after they dropped football, bolstered the secondary. Among those wins were victories over teams that went to the Rose, Cotton, and Orange Bowls. The season ended on another high note as Hendricks was named the MVP and Miami defeated Virginia Tech in the Liberty Bowl. In that December 10th Liberty Bowl game, some members of the Miami team had placed a circular Batman sticker on the sides of their helmets, perhaps reflecting the popularity of the campy television program that featured the fantasy superhero.

Entering spring practice for 1968, Hendricks was tried at his two-way frosh position of offensive end, teaming with 6'4" Ray Bellamy and 6'3" Dave Kalima to form what Tate called the  "shot put offense" that was similar to the old 49er's "Alley-Oop" play with R.C. Owens. Believing that the quarterback could "shot put" the ball towards any of these receivers and have them win a "jump-ball" situation against shorter defensive backs, spring ball alone was enough to indicate that they did not have a QB who could do even that consistently. Thus, the 'Canes entered 1968 with a pro type passing offense, excellent receivers, good runners in Opalsky, Acuff,and Bob Best, and inadequate quarterbacking. The result was predictable. They maintained their gold helmets with Kelly green center stripe, eschewing the Hurricane flags that were used during the '67 season that were loved by the fans, and the 5-5 record was spotted with inconsistent offensive play and scoring. Heisman hopeful Hendricks had fewer tackles as everyone ran away from him but this gave DT Bill Trout and soph Tony Cline who later played with the fine Raider teams of the early '70's a chance to gain experience. Hendricks number 89 was retired at the conclusion of the season and he went on to a Hall Of Fame career in the NFL.

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