Purdue University

1962 - 68 Boilermakers
(Authentic Reproduction)




The introduction of a new helmet design had everyone excited. The gleaming old gold shell featured a one-inch black center stripe and three-inch black numerals placed high on each side. This became the definitive Purdue look for a number of years and was most associated with their moniker and role as "Spoilermakers". Mollenkopf tried his own version of three-platoon football with the 1962 team. The "Gold team" was a two-way squad, considered to be the "first-teamers." Dependent upon the game situation, they would be spelled by "The Raiders", a team of offensive specialists, or "The Rippers", named after the Head Coach's nickname of "Jack The Ripper" whose members played significantly better on defense. Once again the opening game opponent was a West Coast team, this time Washington and for the third consecutive year, the season's first game ended in a tie, 7-7 in this edition with QB Ron DiGravio suffering injury. Against Notre Dame, DiGravio came off of the bench to spark a big 24-6 defeat of the Irish and in typical Purdue fashion, they tripped against Miami (Ohio) the following week in a poor 10-7 loss. Injuries scuttled the platoon rotation but they routed Michigan by 37-0 and lost 7-6 to Minnesota, the conference title hopes going with them. Ingloriously, Mollenkopf watched the team lose to IU for the first time since 1948. Other than tackle Don Brumm who was consistently good, made All American, and then became the Cardinals first round draft choice where he played solidly for most of his ten-year NFL career (picking up two more seasons in the WFL), the team was as usual, up and down and finished at 4-4-1.
What had become the ongoing Purdue pattern of break-even seasonal play marked by inconsistency, major upsets of more talented opponents, and games where lesser teams defeated them, usually brought exciting yet frustrating football and was the mark of '63. Senior QB Ron DiGravio, leading the Big 10 in passing and total offense, found a terrific new receiver in soph Bob Hadrick who was All Conference, and a short, tough guard in Lawrence (N.Y.) High School's Sal Ciampi who paved the way for halfbacks Randy Minniear and Gordon Teter. Unfortunately the defense collapsed, giving up forty-one against the Illini, thirty-eight against Wisconsin, and another twenty-three against Michigan State in a 5-4-1 season. In contrast, they had given up but sixty-eight points for the entire '62 season. The wild 21-15 win over IU in the closer secured a winning season. 
1964 came with the arrival of a new and exciting soph QB from Evansville, IN. He beat out the son of former coach Stu Holcomb and with Chip Holcomb now a second-stringer, Bob Griese with his lightning-quick release, was in charge of Boilermaker fortunes. Bob Hadrick earned his "Magician" reputation with clutch receiving. Minniear and the 179-pound Teter threw themselves through holes with abandon. Besides Griese, talented sophs included Pennsylvania track champion Lou Sims, MG Jack Calcaterra, and DB's John Charles and George Catavolos. End Harold Wells, an All American out of St. Louis Sumner H.S. who played LB for the Eagles for four years, and tackle Jerry Shay led a very experienced line with center Ed "Bull" Flanagan (Lions and Chargers '65-'76), Larry Kaminski, and guard  Ciampi. Griese was great and with a chance to capture a Rose Bowl berth, the Riviters dropped games to Michigan State and Minnesota to finish 6-3.
Captains Ciampi (N.Y. Giants) at guard and Shay at DT led the extremely talented team of 1965 that was characterized by Griese's offensive fireworks and a lot of toughness. Soph ends Jim Beirne and Jim Finley augmented new school career reception leader Hadrick. Griese led a "Spoilermaker" shootout over number-one Notre Dame 25-21 with a great 19 for 22 day. In typical Purdue style, they were tied 14-14 by a mediocre SMU team the next week. By the end of the season, Griese had gone 142 completions in 238 attempts for 1719 yards and 11 TD's and led the team in scoring with his kicking and rushing abilities. The squad scored 227 points and gave up but 127 with MG Calcaterra the hub of the defense. OT Karl Singer out of Canton (Ohio) McKinley HS was named All American and drafted in the first round by the Patriots. Shay was also a number one choice of the Vikings and played six years in the NFL after his All American selection. Griese was the obvious All American and with one year left, a coveted choice of most pro scouts. The 7-2-1 record again reflected the Boilers' inconsistent nature but they were loaded.
THE ROSE BOWL YEAR OF 1966 had the great Michigan State team and Purdue tabbed as the Big 10 favorites. Middle guard Jack Calcaterra, a former walk-on played at O-guard and now filled in on defense as soph Chuck Kyle handled that defensive spot, playing next to two-way tackle Clanton King. DB's John Charles who later kicked around the NFL for eight years as the Pat's number one draft choice, and George Catavolos who has been an NFL assistant for decades were joined by a defensive player of rare ability, Leroy Keyes of Newport News, VA.  At 6'3", 210-pounds Keyes also returned kicks and was used on offense in clutch situations. The nationally televised game against the top-rated Irish was a harsh 26-14 loss and many wrote the Boilermakers off but QB Bob Griese looked to be an All American again with Keyes grabbing a fumble out of mid-air and dashing 94 yards with it. HB Lou Sims broke a leg and sixteen other Purdue players were injured. Yet they rolled until meeting Michigan State and with the Big 10 No-Repeat Rule, still had a shot at the Rose Bowl. Griese was undaunted all season, scrambling, throwing, and winning with the help of All American tackle Karl Singer (Patriots first-round pick), center Larry Kaminski (Broncos), soph FB Perry Williams who had 689 yards rushing and Keyes 8.4 yards-per-carry spot duty. Griese rewrote the Big 10 record books in another All American showing, the team scored 283 points, and at 8-2, the Boilermakers finally made it to Pasadena. Mollenkopf entertained the media with his "blue language" statements (and then complained, "Do you know that  #@*   @#*   who wrote that  #@*  about me being profane?") and with their four NASA Astronauts in support, Purdue defeated the USC Trojans 14-13, Griese again having a huge day, some salve for coming in second to Steve Spurrier in the Heisman Trophy voting. As a bonus, the hotel that hosted Big Ten teams for decades during their Bowl game visits, tabbed the Purdue players as "the nicest group ever from the Big Ten", one more thing for Boilermakers to be proud of.
With many holes to fill due to graduation losses, '67 would be a challenge. MG Kyle and two-way tackle Clancy King led the offense and Mollenkopf still had Williams at FB and moved Keyes to HB, using him for defensive spot-duty as well as special teams. FB Bob Baltzell and end Jim Beirne rounded out the attack except for Griese's replacement. Soph Mike Phipps who seemed better as a runner and tough blocker stepped up and took charge. The Notre Dame game, again nationally televised as the second game of the season, was the big one and Phipps showed his mettle with a 13-for-34 day and two TD's in a 28-21 Boiler victory. With Keyes blanketing ND end Jim Seymour, the pattern was established for the season. The 8-2 year was marred when the Boilers, ranked number two, were beaten by underdog Oregon State and then dropped the season finale to Indiana in a 19-14 battle that put the upstart Hoosiers into the Rose Bowl. Keyes was Big Ten MVP, third in the Heisman balloting, and the nation's scoring leader and end Beirne finished his career as the Boilermakers all time reception leader and had a nine-year pro career, eight of them with the Oilers as a dependable receiver. There was a feeling that the Boilers should have done more and fans were unfulfilled. 1968 again brought victory against the Irish but Ohio State's great team and Minnesota were the roadblocks leaving the Purdue crew with another 8-2 mark. Keyes was everywhere, doing everything and doing it well playing both ways, coming in second to O.J. Simpson for the Heisman Trophy. His All American mention was matched by MG Chuck Kyle. Many tagged FB Perry Williams as a star close to Keyes' magnitude, a vicious blocker and dependable ball handler who went on to a six-year career in the NFL, five with the Packers, the final one with the Bears. Again, the very good won-lost record did not meet the Big Ten and National Championship expectations of the fans and players.                
Many schools have a tradition of producing a host of great players at a particular position. At Ohio State you think of fullbacks and Penn State is synonymous with great linebackers. Purdue University is famous for quarterbacks. One of the Boilermakers best signal callers was Bob Griese. Coming out of Evansville, Indiana, Griese became a starter in his 1964 sophomore season. That year Purdue posted a 6-3 record. Griese gained national prominence in the second game of the 1965 season as he led Purdue to a 25-21 victory over top ranked Notre Dame. In that game, Griese set a Purdue mark for pass completion percentage hooking up on nineteen of twenty-two passes, including thirteen consecutive completions. That year he was recognized as a consensus All-America as Purdue posted a 7-2-1 record. In 1966, Griese completed his varsity career repeating as an All-America and was the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting. The Boilermakers were ranked sixth nationally and lost only to Notre Dame and Michigan State, the two topped ranked teams in the nation. At the conclusion of the regular season Purdue defeated Southern California in the Rose Bowl. As a professional player he was in three Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins. In 1987 Griese was named as Purdue's all-time quarterback as part of the school's Football Centennial Celebration and was elected to the College Football Hall Of Fame. His great career with the Miami Dolphins also earned him entry to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
Keyes was so talented, coaches were not sure where to play him as he could do everything well on a football field. The Newport News, VA product began on the defensive side of the ball and in his second game, snatched a fumble out of the air and ran it back 94-yards for a touchdown. When used for spot-duty on offense, he gained over eight yards per rush and threw a great option pass. As a soph, it was obvious to Coach Mollenkopf that Keyes had to handle the ball as often as possible. He played halfback but when Notre Dame's Jim Seymour proved unstoppable, Keyes went both ways and shut him down. He returned kicks, he ran, he caught, he threw, he blocked, and he defended. He was third on the Heisman list as a junior and gained 225 yards in one outing. He was a two-year All American and as a senior, the Big Ten's MVP and second in the Heisman voting. He made some of those All American teams as an offensive player, some for defense, he was that versatile and that good. "Give the ball to Leroy" became the stadium chant and he was at his best in clutch situations, good enough to be a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame. His numbers don't reflect the excitement he brought to the field, a threat to go all the way on every play.  He played for the Eagles and Chiefs during his six-year pro career, served in the Philadelphia school system, and returned to Purdue as an assistant coach and athletic department representative. Leroy Keyes was voted as, and recognized as the greatest of all the Boilermaker players and at the locally famous Triple XXX Drive-In dining spot, one can get a Leroy Loin pork sandwich, a definite sign of a true folk hero.

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