49-52 Cornhuskers
(Authentic Reproduction)




The hiring of J. William Glassford in 1949 supposedly ended what some referred to as "the bleakest era of Nebraska football", a period that saw six head coaches roll through Lincoln in nine years, none winning more than four games a season with an aggregate winning percentage of .374. Glassford also took the Huskers into the "plastic helmet era" switching the red leather helmets worn through 1950 to a red plastic RT shell with a white center stripe. The team may have dressed better but the "success" of Glassford in his seven years included but three winning seasons and a ton of turmoil. Bill Glassford forever sealed a place in Husker football history by stimulating a player revolt that lasted a number of years. He had taken the University Of New Hampshire to the Glass Bowl game which won the former Pitt All American a reputation as a coaching genius but his brutal pre-season camps and four-hour in-season practice sessions led thirty-five players to sign a public petition to remove him as coach in 1953, and brought the intervention of the school president and administration to bring changes in his approach. If not for an iron clad contract, he would have been gone. His 1950 and '54 teams were solid with the latter, a 6-5 outfit, going to the Orange Bowl due to a no-repeat rule imposed against Oklahoma, but they lost to Duke 34-7. Although Glassford's isolated pre-season camp had been shut down and he had made attempts to reduce his abrasiveness towards players, the squad's public uprising and ongoing dissatisfaction with "The Baby-Faced Assassin" as his players referred to him,  finally caused his resignation after the '55 season, leading to the hiring of Pete Elliot, another former Wilkinson employee. The twenty-nine year old Elliot would stay only for 1956 before taking the head job at Cal and if the Husker fans thought that the tenure of Glassford was filled with turmoil, they were about to enter a new level of despair with the hiring of Bill Jennings.

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