Texas Longhorns

(Authentic Reproduction)



Through the 1950 season Blair Cherry continued to have success. From 1947's 10-1 record in his inaugural season as head coach, through 7-3-1 and 6-4 in '48 and '49, Texas was winning but the expectations of the Texas fans and boosters was wearing on the head coach as these were "not quite good enough" to the Longhorn faithful. Cherry's personality, described as "brusque" by some, combined with two highly criticized and close losses to Oklahoma and Arkansas on successive weeks during the 1950 season, led to clashes with members of the Longhorn athletic community. At the age of 49, Cherry felt his health deteriorating and made the decision to step down after the 1950 season. When photos of that season's football action are viewed, the Longhorns are donned in their white helmets with "Texas brown-orange" center stripe but Cherry had a surprise coming for everyone. When the team took the field for the January 1, 1951 Cotton Bowl, they were wearing Texas brownish orange shells with a white center stripe. The dark headgear was startling to the fans but certainly not to the Volunteers who handed Texas a 20-14 loss. This would be Cherry's final game.
Ed Price was hired and as a former Longhorn three-sport star and assistant coach, he was a popular choice. The retrospective consensus was that Price later made a wonderful dean because he was a very compassionate individual but he could have exerted a more controlling hand on his football team. As a multi-letter winner in football, baseball, and basketball at Texas, Price was a great athlete who relished his undergraduate years in Austin but recalling the good times he had as an athlete, he was a "players' coach" to the extreme and perhaps a bit too lenient with his charges. Price managed a 7-3 record but the three losses were to conference foes, including Arkansas and A&M so there was no bowl invitation nor conference championship. All SWC back Gib Dawson led the offense and finished second in the conference rushing race, running behind the All Conference blocking of future pro Harley Sewell. Bobby Dillon, later to star as a five time All Pro in the Packers secondary, was another All SWC selection as a safety. Price kept the brownish-orange helmets with the white center stripe that Cherry had introduced at the January Cotton Bowl, prior to taking on the head coaching assignment and would maintain the dark helmets until coaching his final game in a disastrous 1-9 season in 1956. 

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.