1963 - 66 Ducks
(Authentic Reproduction)



Oregon improved the look of their helmet by maintaining the Green Bay gold shell but changed to a white one-inch center stripe. One-half-inch kelly green flanking stripes gave the helmet an entirely new appearance and the individual players were still noticeable because of the kelly green three-inch numerals on each side of the shell. Outstanding DE
Dave  Wilcox was also used at offensive guard to boost the punch of the attack but with All American, do-everything two-way back and returner Mel Renfro on the field, there already was plenty of weaponry. With QB Bob Berry, and other backs Lu Bain, a future performer in the CFL, and Larry Hill, the “Firehouse Four” backfield was potent but Renfro was of course the main cog. He was the class of the entire coast, using his track speed and hurdling abilities to do everything possible to help his Ducks to their 8-3-1 record. QB Berry broke out with 1733 total offense yards and sixteen TD passes, taking the snaps from fine soph C Dave Tobey. Guard Pat Matson and end Ray Palm supported Tobey well. The defense was the purview of Boise JC transfer DT Jerry Inman and team MVP LB Wilcox who went on to a terrific eleven-year career with the Forty-Niners. An All NFL performer five times, Wilcox played in seven Pro Bowls and easily lived up to his nickname, “The Intimidator” before being voted into The Pro Football Hall Of Fame. His sons Josh and Justin later filled key roles as players at the UO and Justin is the defensive coordinator at Boise State. In beating Indiana 28-22, the Ducks notched their first victory over a Big Ten squad. The team earned a Sun Bowl berth and even without Renfro who missed the game with a badly cut right wrist, defeated SMU 21-14, keeping the Mustangs out of the end zone for the first three quarters on the inspired play of Wilcox. They closed out a fine season and no one would have predicted that this would be the Ducks’ last bowl game until 1989!




Decades before the Internet and immediate television coverage of current events, many college football players were relatively isolated due to their university’s location, the time zone they played their games in, or a lack of funding that would allow for calling the media’s attention to a particular player’s accomplishments. For many reasons, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest were often snubbed when it came time for post-season honors in part because few in the Midwest or Eastern seaboard who determined such things ever saw those athletic teams play. San Jose’s Bob Berry was one of those players yet was spectacular enough to be named First Team All American in his senior year of 1964. He led his Oregon team to three consecutive winning seasons and from 1962 through ’64 posted a 21-8-2 mark while taking his squad to a Sun Bowl win over SMU following the 1963 season. He was the first Oregon quarterback to throw for over 1000 yards in two consecutive seasons and his career marks of 4297 passing yards, 4543 total offensive yards, and thirty-nine touchdowns were school records. He was drafted by the Eagles as a future after the 1963 season and ironically, after being named All American in ’64, found that he was but Second Team All PAC-8 quarterback to Cal’s Craig Morton. Berry entered the NFL as a member of the Minnesota Vikings and played with them from ’65 through 1967. He was a favorite of Vikings’ Head Coach and former Oregon All American Norm Van Brocklin and when The Dutchman became the head man of the Atlanta Falcons for the 1968 season, he brought Berry with him. The quarterback did not disappoint, throwing for over 1000 yards in each of his Falcon seasons and for over 2000 yards in both 1971 and ’72. A Pro Bowl performer in 1969, Berry returned to finish his pro career as a member of the Vikings from 1973 through ’75. When it was time to retire, his statistics indicated that he had thrown for 9197 yards and sixty-four touchdowns and had been with the Vikings for three Super Bowls. Interestingly, Berry is not regularly thought of as one of the very best quarterbacks in NFL history yet to date, he remains ranked at number nine all-time in yards gained per attempt, rated higher than many of the better known Pro Football Hall Of Famers. Berry became successful in the real estate business following his professional football career.    


Even with Berry gone, there was a hint of Rose Bowl fever on campus prior to the '65 season and three victories that opened the 1965 season added to it. "Two-headed" quarterback tandem Mike Brundage and Tom Trovato put up the best stats in the conference often throwing to Steve Bunker who pulled in a new Oregon record fifty-one receptions. Even with competent O-line play from All Coast center Tobey who played LB for the Vikings, Broncos, and the BC Lions in the pros, and weight-trained guard Pat Matson who was very productive in a ten-year NFL career with three teams, the lack of solid rushing hurt enough to hamper the attack all season, resulting in a 4-5-1 record. The defense was not up to the high standards of '64 with some fall-off in the secondary. DT Jerry Inman continued to impress and then played seven years for the Broncos, completing his solid career in the WFL (see HELMET HUT http://helmethut.com/WFL/Inman.html for Inman helmet feature). 1966’s rush game improved with HB's Steve Jones and Claxton Welch toting the ball but the offense proved to be inconsistent. The defense was in better hands with Jim "Yazoo" Smith, who picked up his colorful nickname because he was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, intercepting thirteen passes, returning two for TD's, and gaining All Conference recognition. Gunther Cunningham, the Chiefs’ future head coach and long-time defensive coordinator played well at LB and MG George Dames was All Coast but at 3-7, it was a tough season and Casanova decided to step down and devote his full energies to the Athletic Director's job. Coach "Cas" left a solid legacy, forging competitive teams despite inheriting facilities that were initially poor, a smaller staff and budget, and fewer quality athletes than almost all of the other conference schools. His penchant for teaching and producing excellent assistants is reflected in the work of those who learned from him, men like John McKay, Jack Patera, Bruce Snyder, George Seifert, and John Robinson who all made a mark in the game and their loyalty to their head coach left the impressive statistic that Coach Cas had a total of but thirteen assistant coaches in his sixteen years at the helm of Oregon. As he moved full time into administration, twelve-year assistant Jerry Frei was given the head coaching post for 1967. Casanova remained as AD until 1970 and The College Football Hall Of Fame coach is considered to be the most important and influential factor in the growth and success of Oregon athletics.

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