1975 - 79  Ole Miss Rebels



Head coach Ken Cooper made a move to a darker, navy blue helmet shell, the continuation of the one-inch red center stripe, and "Colonel Reb" side decals, but he removed the rear identifying white numerals for the 1975 season. He also shifted to a Veer Offense, taking advantage of future 49er Paul Hofer's running ability. DT "Gentle" Ben Williams, the first African-American football letter winner at Ole Miss again was an All SEC performer, was the first of African-American descent to be named "Colonel Reb" and then played ten years with the Buffalo Bills, making All Pro and named to the Bills' Silver Anniversary Team. Williams has a minority scholarship in his name at Ole Miss and has been a successful businessman in the construction industry, continuing to lend financial support to the Ole Miss program. The record improved to 6-5, earning Cooper SEC Coach Of The Year honors, and this was followed by two 5-6 records through 1976 and '77. The Rebels would win some games they expected to lose and lose some that should have been won but they were no longer feared and only Mississippi State whom now was able to split wins and losses with their previously unbeatable rival, took them seriously. 1976 was especially galling to fans with an anemic offense unable to string even two TDs together in six of the eleven games. That the Rebels were able to defeat Alabama and Georgia in mid-season and then collapsed, losing the last three games of the campaign, including the annual blood letting with rival Mississippi State, by a combined 105-17 margin was not an acceptable state of affairs. Fullback James Storey and freshman RB Leon Perry showed potential and TE Curtis Weathers looked good at end but the offense offered little else. All SEC LB Kem Coleman led the team with ninety-two tackles. Cooper overhauled the staff, bringing in five new assistants for the 77 season, QB Tim Ellis often played heroically, but the results looked the same; a 5-6 record, another loss to Mississippi State, and the belief by the Ole Miss faithful that the true talent of the team wasnt being exploited. The RBs
were Perry and Freddie Williams while Weathers impressed at TE. After the 1977 season, Cooper was relieved and former Alabama QB and Texas Tech head coach Steve Sloan was hired to restore glory to the program. He recruited John Fourcade out of Archbishop Shaw H.S. in Louisiana who was an immediate fan favorite. Sloan continued the up-and-down middle-of-the-road Rebel cycle of winning and losing with injuries and the suspension of top offensive lineman center Chuck Comiskey limiting team performance and crippling the running game with FB Leon Perry the leading rusher with a mediocre 673 yards. TE Curtis Weathers would go on to a seven-year pro career with Cleveland. The 78 record was 5-6 but at least Mississippi State was one of the victims. Boosters cut Coach Sloan slack in 1978, knowing that time was needed for the transition to his more wide open offense. Unfortunately, 1979's record slid to 4-7 with a stinging loss to Southern Miss. SEC Sophomore Of The Year QB John Fourcade who was the conference total offense leader and FB Leon Perry a future N.Y. Giant provided the sparks but newcomer RB Buford McGee was lost to a shoulder injury in the third game. Unfortunately the defense was unable to mount much pressure through the year and gave up big points. Punter Jim Miller, giving indication of the squads inefficiency, was one of the Rebels most effective weapons before leaving to handle the punting chores of the 49ers, Cowboys, and Giants for six years.

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