Texas Longhorns

(Authentic Reproduction)



Coach Royal began the 1962 season by removing the Texas "burnt orange" center stripe from the helmet, leaving the distinctive Longhorn and three inch numerals on the sides of the helmet. He also began, and ended the season with a defense that would be the equal of 1961's, both giving up only 59 regular season points. Led by two red hot and far-roaming linebackers in Johnny Treadwell, the first to bring acclaim to the number 60, and future Longhorn assistant coach Pat Culpepper, and augmented by superlative linemen Scott Appleton and Knox Nunnaly, the defensive intensity proved to pervade the entire squad. The pre-season practice death of teammate Reggie Grob due to heat stroke brought the squad together on a mission to win. The entire season can perhaps be encapsulated by the Arkansas vs. Texas game as both teams entered the fray at 4-0. With the Hogs ahead 3-0, they again threatened in the third quarter but as fullback Danny Brabham appeared to go over the goal line on diving effort, Treadwell and Culpepper hit him simultaneously with the ball popping out and Texas recovering in the end zone. Arkansas was positive he had crossed the line but Texas had recovered. Spurred on by this great defensive effort, a stilted Texas offense came alive and fought its way down the field until with thirty-six seconds left on the clock, fullback Tommy Ford fell across the Hog's goal line after a four yard run on a seldom-used special trap play. The goal line stand typified the 1962 season and a photomural of the goal line stand and Brabham's fumble remained in the Texas Longhorns' Lettermen's Lounge for decades.    
The consensus National Championship team of 1963 also did it with defense! They yielded but ten touchdowns, anchored by All American Scott Appleton who had the kind of year every player only dreams about. "Blocking Scott was like blocking smoke." said Royal as Appleton and future Texas head coach David McWilliams led a voluntary summer conditioning program, years ahead of its time, that brought Texas into the season in peak condition. The offense did not suffer however. While sophomore Tommy Nobis often went both ways as a guard and linebacker, the offense did boast running backs like Tommy Ford and Ernie Koy, and the leadership of QB Duke Carlisle who filled in more than capably as a safety on that savage defense. Undefeated but under-appreciated by the Eastern press, Texas squared off against the Roger Staubach led Naval Academy who entered the Cotton Bowl showdown with only one loss and quite a few votes as the number one team in the country. Respected Pittsburgh sportswriter Myron Cope referred to the Longhorns as "the biggest fraud ever perpetuated on the football public" noting their "skinny linemen" and denigrating the abilities of QB Carlisle who described his handoffs much like "a construction foreman passing a plank to a carpenter." "Stealing" Navy's very obvious defensive signals by watching cardboard signs being flashed from the Midshipmen sidelines, the scrambling Longhorns contained Staubach. Coupled with a few surprise long passes to emerging talent Phil Harris, a young soph halfback, Texas decisively earned their National Championship with a 28-6 victory. For the 1963 season, Royal continued the use of the white helmet that had had the burnt orange center stripe prior to the 1962 season, leaving the immediately recognizable Longhorn decal and player numerals over it. This would be the terrific Texas helmet that would adorn the great UT teams until 1967 when they removed the distinctive three inch numerals from the sides of the helmet and moved them to the back. As a symbolic reminder of the first National Championship in Texas' proud history, the 1963 helmet remains an icon!   

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.