Northwestern University

1956 - 57 Wildcats
(Authentic Reproduction)



With one victory in their previous seventeen games, an overhaul was needed and the Wildcats received one from new coach Ara Parseghian. He was a successful player at Miami (OH) under legendary Sid Gillman, played for the Browns for three seasons, and then returned to Miami as Woody Hayes' assistant, taking the head job in 1951 when Hayes left for Ohio State. Although Ara made a much bigger name for himself as the coach at Notre Dame from 1964-'74, he was already a terrific mentor at both Miami and Northwestern. With a movement in some quarters to move Northwestern out of the Big Ten Parseghian was determined to have a competitive team. A new offensive alignment and team uniform improved morale with the white helmet now featuring  purple three-quarter-inch flanking stripes and black two-inch thin "NCAA-style" player numerals on each side. Installing the Split T Formation, the team responded with an improved 4-4-1 record with captain Ted Ringer leading the way at center and linebacker. Bob McKeiver returned from the military to provide backfield punch with 592 yards, despite his 5'4" stature, and the 'Cats closed the year with three consecutive conference victories. Al Viola led the line as an All Conference guard. Enthusiasm for the program improved although 1957's 0-9 record may have looked disastrous to an outsider. Ara was dismantling and restructuring the program from within and giving sophs like RB Ron Burton, the 'Cats leading ground-gainer, and Fred Williamson playing time. Tackle Andy Cvercko and HB Wilmer Fowler played well and there was no panic within the program, especially with a frosh class that included Irv Cross, Dick Thornton, and Mike Stock.

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