University of Miami

1972 - 75 Hurricanes
(Authentic Reproduction)




Head Coach Fran Curci's second season at his alma mater was dubbed "Curci's Second Coming" and he was fired up stating, "We are going to win...we are going to do it." His prediction took an immediate hit as rival Florida State promptly and easily defeated the Hurricanes in the opener 37 - 14. Miami also lost quarterback Kary Baker to a broken ankle, moved Chuck Foreman, the team's best player to flanker to avoid being swamped behind an under performing offensive line and lost two more games. However, given an illegal fifth down against Tulane, the Hurricanes scored and won 24 - 21 which sparked a four game winning streak before losing 7 - 0 to Curci's former Tampa team and a close 20 - 17 decision against Notre Dame. They evened things up against Maryland before dropping the finale to Florida 17 - 6. Middle guard Tony Cristiani, a tightrope walker from a circus family, and tackle Rubin Carter played good defense and Carter stood out with a legitimate 500 pound bench press and 4.7 speed. DB Burgess Owens made a number of All American teams, finished with eight career interceptions, and followed with a distinguished ten year pro career with the Jets and Raiders. Offensive guard Dennis Harrah gained some All America notice. Curci traded the white numerals on the sides of the forest green helmet for an attractive "U" that was a two-tone burnt orange and forest green trimmed in white.  
Perhaps if he was less versatile and athletic, Walter "Chuck" Foreman might have had rushing records that stood for ages while at Miami. A standout football and basketball player at Frederick (Maryland) High School, he wanted to play in warm weather but not travel as far as California. Even as a part-time runner for  the Hurricanes he was considered the University's greatest at the conclusion of his eligibility. His sophomore season was marred by the resignation of head coach Charlie Tate but his ability to both run and catch was evident. In 1971 he became a marked man, rushing for 966 yards and receiving for another seventy-two. Moved to flanker in his senior season, he still rushed for 484 yards while gaining 557 on receptions. He became the first round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings, was '73's NFC Rookie of The Year, 1974 and '76's NFC Player of The Year, a First Team All Pro in 1975 when he set an NFL record for running backs with seventy-three pass receptions, and played in five consecutive Pro Bowls. He topped 1000 rushing yards in three of his eight pro seasons before being slowed by injuries in both 1978 and '79. He finished his career in 1980 with New England before settling into a teaching career that was augmented by radio work. His son Jay played a number of NFL seasons after starring as a Nebraska linebacker.
After two rebuilding seasons and a declaration that he was "happy the way things were going," Fran Curci abruptly left Miami for the head coaching job at Kentucky on December 18. Twenty-two hours later, Associate Athletic Director Pete Elliot was named the new head coach. A former Michigan All American and head coach at Illinois, Califormia, and Nebraska, he understood that the program was sliding towards termination but was enthusiastic about coaching again. He removed the "U" decals from the helmets for the 1973 season, leaving the squad to play in solid forest green shells. Elliot had the Canes rolling, winning three of the first four contests including a 20 - 15 opening day victory over Texas at home. The loss was a close call 24 - 20 loss to powerhouse Oklahoma but the team stumbled during the homestretch to finish 5 - 6. Rubin Carter was drawing comparisons to the great Ted Hendricks and he teamed well with Gary Dunn and All American Tony Cristiani who finished his career with 279 tackles before taking his talents to the World Football League and Hamilton of the CFL. The offense was anchored by Dennis Harrah and until injured, tailback Woody Thompson who still tallied 800 rushing yards. 1974 saw a winning season for the Canes with their 6 - 5 mark highlighted by a few "good losses" to highly ranked Notre Dame, Alabama, and a 3 - 0 defeat by Auburn, and a return of the two-toned "U" decals to the sides of the forest green helmet. Kary Baker came back from previous injury to throw for over 1100 yards. 

It isn't often that a football program that has been less than feared and muddled through a number of seasons can still boast two All Americans, both of whom later starred in the NFL. Neither was well known to the average fan because one anchored the offensive line, the other the defensive front but Miami Sports Hall of Fame members Dennis Harrah and Rubin Carter were well known to pro scouts from the earliest days of their Miami careers. Carter was a local star at Fort Lauderdale's Stranahan High School while Harrah entered Miami after an excellent high school career in Charleston, West Virginia. Both were named to various All American teams as juniors and seniors and both bench pressed 500 or more pounds while running 4.8/40 yard sprints. Everything on the offense went through Harrah while very little went through Carter at tackle and noseguard. Carter completed his Miami career with 306 tackles, became the Denver Broncos first round draft choice, and played well enough to not only be named to the Broncos 50th Anniversary Team, but garnered death threats and police protection at Super Bowl XII for his performance. He later became a long time NFL and college assistant coach following his twelve year Broncos career and his son Rubin Andre followed his dad with a thirteen year NFL career. Harrah in turn became the L.A. Rams first round pick and the 6'5" 259 pounder built himself to 280 pounds and was both a six year team captain and six time Pro Bowl choice as well as a member of the Rams 40th Anniversary Team. Harrah, with a well known reputation as a fun-loving individual, owned a bar for a number of years but later settled into a quiet life as a rancher and enjoyed the collegiate football career of his two sons.

In February of 1975, Elliot returned to full time administrative work and offensive coordinator Carl Selmer was named as the Hurricanes head coach. Many believed that the late announcement of Elliot's retirement from coaching was in fact meant to eliminate the possibility of hiring anyone but the in-house Selmer, a former Nebraska offensive line coach who had departed Lincoln when Tom Osborne and not he, was named as successor to Bob Devaney as the Huskers' head man. He installed a Veer Offense and surrounded experienced but battered quarterback Kary Baker with a young squad that was highlighted by the promise of back Ottis Anderson and defensive line play of Eddie Edwards and Gary Dunn who went on to a twelve year career with the Steelers. The team lost games they should have won and lost valiantly to top ranked Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Colorado but an 0 - 4 start scuttled Selmer's first season that ended at a disappointing 2 - 8. 

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