1971-77 Tigers
(Authentic Reproduction)



Defensive coordinator Al Onofrio was everyone’s choice as the new Tiger leader. Speaking of his incredible depth of football knowledge, one Missouri player stated that “Onofiro made the car, Devine sold it.” This alluded to the X’s and O’s, schemes and in-game adjustments that Onofrio had a winning knack for and he was a perfect complement to Devine’s ability to motivate players and be “the front man” for the Missouri program. Serving at Mizzou for twenty years as defensive coordinator and head coach, the California youth became a dyed-in-the-wool adopted Missourian, continuing the edict set by Don Faurot to recruit Missouri players as much as possible. Onofrio had been an outstanding high school multi-sport athlete and began his collegiate career as an Alabama halfback. Entering the military service, he was assigned to Arizona State University for training and was an All Border Conference player before shipping out for active duty and storming the beach at Normandy on D-Day. He returned to Arizona State as a physical education teacher and assistant football coach under three head coaches but eventually quit because he disagreed with the head coach’s decision to play ineligible athletes using assumed names. When Devine took over the ASU head football post, Onofrio was a golf coach, unpaid but passionate about teaching young people. Devine convinced him to join his staff and then follow him to Missouri. With the support of his family, the move was made and the family included Onofrio’s father-in-law Reg Noble who played on three Stanley Cup teams and is a member of the NHL Hall Of Fame. Filled with enthusiasm, Onofrio unveiled a new helmet design, one that maintained the one-inch old gold center stripe, three-quarter-inch black gap, and three-quarter-inch white flanking stripes but now boasted a thin-profile, white “M” on each side of the helmet. Unfortunately, the lack of offensive punch which saw the team score a touchdown or less in seven of their eleven games in ‘71, led to disaster. Scoring a total of only ninety-three points and yielding 260 was a recipe for a shocking 1-10 record! The 603 yards given up to Nebraska was unlike any result an Onofrio defense had experienced in the past. With the only victory coming against SMU, the season produced few highlights though DB Mike Fink thrilled the fans with a 100-yard kickoff return against Oklahoma State and later had a ninety-one yarder against Iowa State. Henry Stuckey became a member of the vaunted Miami Dolphins secondary that went to the Super Bowl, playing with them from 1972 through ’74 and then with the Giants in 1975. DE John Brown again was an aggressive pass rusher and the offense featured good play from John Henly and soph OT Scott Anderson. There was no panic with “Uncle Al” at the helm but no one was happy with his debut.

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