Penn State

1960 Penn State
(Authentic Reproduction)




The Chinese Bandits of LSU were famous as a defensively oriented platoon that could, as all players did, go both ways, and other schools copied the Bayou Bengals' success with their own versions of a specially formulated defensive unit. Penn State copied the same helmet numerals, using the "LSU-style" block numbers of navy blue on the sides of their white helmets, complete with navy blue one-inch center stripe. However on the field, Coach Rip Engle instituted his "equal-time plan" where he substituted two entire offensive units during each game. Having what he felt was an abundance of offensive talent, he wanted as much of it on the field as possible each contest. Both units were considered to be "first string" with Galen Hall heading up one, and former high school QB Dick Hoak the other, called "The Reddies". Hoak would later star with the Steelers as a halfback known for his ability to throw the option pass. With the first two slots filled, QB hopeful Don Jonas, destined to become the greatest player in the 1960's minor leagues, moved to halfback. Losing three of their first five games, it took a while to get the offense in gear but they finished with five consecutive wins to close at 6-3 before facing Oregon in the Liberty Bowl. They also lost RB Roger Kochman for the year with a knee injury but Al Gursky picked up the slack. The line was stocked with ends Bob Mitinger and terrorizing soph Dave Robinson, future pros Stew Barber and Bill Saul at tackle (with Saul also playing guard and center). The Lions opened their season in brand new Beaver Stadium with a win and closed it in the Liberty Bowl under fourteen inches of snow, howling twenty-five mile per hour winds and enough points to bury Oregon 41-12.

Ending the season at 7-3 allowed junior All American Dave Robinson to be the first African American to play in Jacksonville's Gator Bowl game, a 30-15 victory over Georgia Tech but Robinson and his end mate Bob Mitinger, future Charger end, led the Penn State team to wins over Navy, Syracuse, Cal, and Pitt to earn that right. The team also showed their solidarity when they responsively rose as one and walked out of a restaurant near the bowl site that refused to serve Robinson. RB Kochman returned for a good season with Gursky and Jonas almost as effective. Galen Hall, who played in both the NFL and CFL before establishing himself as a highly respected assistant and head coach at both the pro and collegiate levels, led the team with protection up front from Bill Saul, one of three Butler, PA brothers who played in the NFL, Bill as a second round draft choice of the Colts and Charlie Sieminski who signed with the 49ers after the 1962 season. Engle's team was now firmly established as a hard-hitting unit that could play anywhere in the country against any level of competition.

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