1969 Tigers
(Authentic Reproduction)




To celebrate the 1969 college football centennial the Tigers wore their “usual” black helmet with a one-inch old gold center stripe, three-quarter-inch black gap, and three-quarter-inch white flanking stripes while       maintaining the white three-inch identifying player numerals on the right side of their helmets. On the left side of the shells, they wore a commemorative decal that displayed a white “100” within a black football shaped oval that was outlined in white. Expected to dominate on the ground with RB’s Joe Moore and James Harrison, there could have been a problem when the latter went down for most of the season with injury. However Moore, the pride of Beaumont H.S. in St. Louis came through with 1312 yards as the nation’s third leading rusher, to team with HB Jon Staggers and the Tigers finished at a great 9-2 and the country’s number-five overall ranking. The only losses came in the Colorado game and then to Penn State in a close 10-3 battle in the Orange Bowl. For the bowl game, Missouri altered their helmets and wore the “100” centennial decal on both sides of the helmets. The two losses did not diminish the performance of Moore and Staggers, who was an all-purpose dynamo with the Steelers, Packers, and Lions from 1970-’75. Their work was augmented by Mel Gray’s fine All Big Eight pass-receiving that averaged an unbelievable 27.1 yards per catch. With All American guard Mike Carroll joining All Conference OT Larron Jackson, QB Terry McMillan totaled a new school record 2157 offensive yards and the squad scored 362 points. Against Kansas State and their QB Lynn Dickey who had tattooed powerful Oklahoma and their Heisman winner Steve Owens, the powerhouse Tiger offense won a 41-38 barnburner as the two squads combined for 1300 yards! Yet the defense of Coordinator Onofrio was typically solid, with a number of All Big Eight performers in DT Mark Kuhlmann and DB Dennis Poppe. The secondary was filled out by Butch Davis who played with the Bears in ’70. Devine got the Pepper Rodgers monkey off of his back, defeating Kansas 69-21 for a Big Eight record of ninety combined points. Rodgers hoisted the peace sign towards the Tigers’ sideline perhaps as a request for Missouri to call off the dogs, and Devine was seen to reciprocate with “half of a peace sign” in return, perhaps in response to the statement that the KU coach made to Sports Illustrated when he said that “Devine doesn’t win the big one.”


 For the 1970 season, the Tigers removed the 100 year decal used in ’69 and as they had since 1957, placed white three-inch identifying numerals on each side of the helmet. Injuries decimated the team and they never got untracked despite an abundance of talent. One player expected to contribute was huge, muscular 6’7”, 270-pound TE John Matuszak but he was released from the team for disciplinary reasons and transferred to the University Of Tampa. His pro football saga is well-known by most. Dependable TB Joe Moore had rushed for 610 yards by the fifth game against Nebraska but went out for the remainder of the season with a separated shoulder. He was still the Bears number-one draft pick and lasted three seasons but never regained his pre-injury form. He later became a successful high school football and track coach. Big FB James Harrison rebounded from his 1969 injury and was the Bears number-two draft choice, lasting a bit longer than Moore with his four pro seasons. Versatile Mel Gray, despite being double-teamed most of the time, finished his eligibility with a school record 1491 receiving yards and also played with an injured shoulder which limited his starts. With the Cardinals, he served as a receiver, runner, and return-man, playing twelve seasons. He utilized his All American track speed to a number of All Pro selections. With All Big Eight powerhouse Larron Jackson clearing the way from his OT spot it was only the injuries that dampened the offense. Jackson played for the Broncos and Falcons from ’71 through 1976. The defense suffered its share of injuries but DT Rocky Wallace came back from his missed ’69 season to make All Conference teamed with DE John Brown. DB’s Henry Stuckey, a transfer from Merritt (CA) JC and Mike Fink who was almost as good a return specialist as Gray, held up the secondary. The 5-6 record included a 24-7 loss to Notre Dame as seven starters sat out the game with injury and Devine suffered his first losing season in sixteen years as a head coach. As a Minnesota lad, he was flattered when the Green Bay Packers approached him with their head coaching position. Perhaps dismayed by the injuries and losses of 1970, he accepted and served Green Bay as head coach and GM from 1971 through ’74. He did a positive job turning around an organization that had suffered after the departure of Vince Lombardi and was named NFC Coach Of The Year in 1972. Disenchanted with the pro game and the NFL players’ strike of 1974, he returned to the college ranks as the head coach of Notre Dame where he most famously developed Joe Montana. At Mizzou, nine of his thirteen teams finished in the Top Twenty with the 1960 squad’s number five ranking the highest ever for a Tiger team. From 1958-’70, he amassed a 92-38-7 mark and followed that up at Notre Dame with 53-16-1 and the 1977 National Championship. As head coach he developed an atmosphere at Missouri that earned him a national reputation as being ultimately fair to minority players and he hired Prentice Gautt as the first Black assistant coach in the history of the Big Eight Conference. Devine’s body of work, especially his tenure at Missouri, earned him entry to The College Football Hall Of Fame.

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