1963 Trojans
(Authentic Reproduction)




Although the Trojans removed the side numerals from their helmets after the January 1, 1963 Rose Bowl game and wore "plain" maroon headgear during these years there was nothing "plain" about the USC teams or players that took the field. These were the years that John McKay established himself as one of the best coaches of his era. The National Championship year of '62 was followed by a 7-3 1963, somewhat expected with the loss of key performers and then becoming everyone's "best game" of the year. Beathard now had Craig Fertig, a future head collegiate coach behind him at QB and rapid Willie Brown but over the course of the season, no one could be found with the power of departed Ben Wilson. 6'5" Hal Bedsole was back at one end and had another All America year but there was no one to take the pressure off of him. Damon Bane, the guard-linebacker was the defensive star but with less help than in the previous year. Soph RB Mike Garrett emerged as an obvious star but McKay was forced to look ahead to 1964. Improvement was noted and the team tied for the Pacific Eight title although the record remained the same in '64. Fertig did well as the senior signal caller and Garrett fulfilled his promise, making many All America teams. Garrett was also one of USC's best defensive players. Soph QB Rod Sherman moved to receiver and another future NFL coach, Hudson Houck headed an undistinguished but veteran line. With Garrett's 948 rushing yards comprising more than ninety percent of the Trojan's '64 ground attack, 1965's offense was very much predictable. As a senior, Garrett won USC's first Heisman Trophy after a storybook season. Speedy Rod Sherman on the flank kept some pressure off of the running game and a number of sophomores took over starting positions on the defense, sophs who in two years would develop into the nation's best defense. Among them were defensive end Tim Rossovich, Northern California's Prep Player Of The Year, tackle Adrian Young, and end Ray May, all of whom later starred as linebackers in the NFL. The 7-2-1 slate of 1965 would fall off to 7-4 in '66 as Southern Cal struggled to replace Garrett while Troy Winslow split time at QB with soph Steve Sogge. Ron Yary starred on the offensive line and was obvious pro material but the offense was inconsistent in the year's big games. The defense continued to mature as the juniors led the way and McKay was confident that 1967 would be special. Despite a schedule that included powerful Texas, Michigan State, and Notre Dame, USC came loaded. Yary would win the Outland Trophy and newcomers looked like stars-in-the-making. Soph QB Mike Holmgren was expected to take over but suffered a knee injury. However, transfer O.J. Simpson immediately established himself as a singular talent and vet FB Mike Hull had always been a terrific blocking back so the offense looked ready. The defense however, had been "cooking" for two years and now was unleashed to the tune of giving up but 84 points in ten regular season games and augmented that with a mere 3 point give-away in the Rose Bowl victory over Indiana. Rossovich and Young were everyone's first team All Americans as was Yary and Simpson from the offense, but end Bill Hayhoe, noseguard Ralph "Chip" Oliver (who gave up his NFL career with the Raiders to work in a natural foods commune), and DB's Sandy Durko, Pat Cashman, and Mike Battle (the nation's leading punt returner) were of almost the same caliber and again took the Trojans to yet another National Championship.
In 1968 the conference was realigned into the Pacfic Ten Conference and its first official champion was USC! Again led by Simpson's Heisman Trophy winning performance, the Trojan tailback tradition was solidly established and he was seen as a greater talent than previous winner Mike Garrett. The understated blocking of FB Dan Scott allowed Simpson to romp and the receiving corps of Bob Klein and Sam Dickerson gave the yet unfulfilled Holmgren and emerging Sogge great targets. Junior DE Jim Gunn and soph Charlie Weaver would develop into All Americans in subsequent seasons but with Battle, emerged as the leaders of a stout defense, completing '68 with a 9-1-1 record and another trip to the Rose Bowl where they unfortunately ran into the Ohio State super team that would win the year's nod as National Champion. The unadorned maroon headgear would now be immediately associated with the Trojans of Southern Cal and after celebrating college football's 100 year anniversary with a commemorative sticker in 1969, McKay would return to this basic but immediately recognizable look for the 1970 and '71 seasons.

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