Texas Longhorns

(Authentic Reproduction)





Following in the footsteps of Dana X. Bible, his mentor and leader of the Longhorn football program for ten years, Blair Cherry assumed the head coaching position for the 1947 season. Finishing at 10-1 and 8-2 his final two years, Bible took over as full time athletic director and left some players that would later be recognized as among the finest UT has produced. Cherry was a natural for the Texas job having completed an enviable high school record in the tough West Texas ranks, and then serving as Bible's chief assistant during the latter's tenure at Austin. While expectations remained high, Cherry perhaps exceeded the hopes of the Orange boosters as the team went 10-1 and handily defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Cherry was known as a fitness fanatic, at least relative to his players' conditioning and many from the 1947 team claimed that their pre-season regimen was as tough or tougher than that made famous by Bear Bryant's Junction Boys at Texas A&M seven years later. "Blair Cherry put us through the toughest preseason that any Texas team has been through," stated end Peppy Blount and none of his teammates disagreed. QB Bobby Layne and FB Tom Landry led the Longhorns through a rugged early schedule where their conditioning paid off. A Doak Walker-led 14-13 upset was the only blemish on their record as the 'Horns failed to score on a late drive although Oklahoma fans still point to their 1947 game as one that Texas should have lost. Behind firebrand Darrell Royal, only a disputed call allowed Texas to maintain possession and score what was at that point in the game, a tie-breaking touchdown. The call led to a bottle throwing incident that left the field littered with glass and led to the rule that had all drinks served in cups when these two teams squared off.  This simple but beautiful RT helmet was worn until the Orange Bowl game following the 1950 season.    

UT football, baseball, and track uniforms, along with letter sweaters, were orange and maroon. This created more than a little controversy, especially among the alumni. Adding to the confusion was the Cactus Yearbook, at the time published by the Athletic Association, which listed the University colors as either gold or orange and white. The appearance of the 1899 Cactus made matters worse. It suddenly declared the University colors to be "Gold and Maroon," which just happened to be the same hues used for the yearbook's cover. And all the while, students the University's medical branch in Galveston wanted to throw out the double-colors in favor of a single one: royal blue. Attending a football game in 1899, a UT fan would have found his compatriots sporting all shades of yellows, oranges, whites, reds, maroons, and a few in blue.

After considerable discussion, the Board of Regents decided to hold an election to settle the matter. Students, faculty, staff and alumni were all invited to send in their ballots. Out of the 1,111 votes cast, 562 were for orange and white, a majority by just seven votes. Orange and maroon receive 310, royal blue 203, crimson 10, royal blue and crimson 11, and few other colors scattered among the remaining 15 votes.

For almost thirty years, UT athletic teams wore bright orange on their uniforms, which usually faded to a yellow by the end of the season after having been washed a few times. By the 1920s, other college teams sometimes called the Longhorn squads "yellow bellies," a term that didn't sit well with the athletic department. In 1928, UT football coach Clyde Littlefield ordered uniforms in a darker shade of orange that wouldn't fade, and would later become known as "burnt orange" or "Texas orange." The dark-orange color remained in use until part-way though the Great Depression in the 1930s, when the dye became too expensive. UT uniforms were bright orange for another two decades, until coach Darrell Royal revised the burnt orange color in the early 1960s.

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