Xavier University

1952 Musketeers
(Authentic Reproduction)


Football fans often note that numerous current day collegiate programs are on the same level as the monstrous business machine that is the National Football League. References are made to college coaching salaries where many “get pro money” and the facilities are every bit as luxurious as the stadium palaces that the professional teams play in. The fact is that many colleges boast much larger stadiums where more than 100,000 fans turn out for every home game and the weight rooms and locker areas make the NFL equivalents pale in comparison. Of course the colleges are dealing with double the number of players that need to be accommodated but there is no doubt that the top tier college football teams are every bit the spectacle that the money-driven pros are. It might be surprising for younger fans to learn that as late as the early 1960’s, almost all of college football far surpassed professional football in attendance, national and local interest, and public respect. As former USC and New York Giants great Frank Gifford noted

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“I played from 1949-1951 for USC before 50,000 people at the LA Coliseum. I was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants, who were playing before only 8,000 to 10,000 in the New York Polo Grounds. The NFL was just a step above pro wrestling. My salary was $8,000 per year and we heard every week the Mara family that owned the Giants, was going broke.” The accepted history is that the Giants – Colts championship game of 1958 rocketed the NFL to public consciousness and popularity, growing the average NFL attendance of the 1950’s and early ‘60’s to its dizzying heights of today with its product and attire marketing of multiple millions of annual dollars. However college football was king and even the smaller, local rivalries held the interest of fans at a fever pitch. Among these, the Xavier University and University Of Cincinnati battles were major events.


In HELMET HUT’s  February 2006 Helmet News/Reflections column [ http://www.helmethut.com/Dr.Ken28.html ] the dissolution of the Xavier football program in 1973 was lamented and the opening paragraph of that article clearly noted the uniqueness of what had been a wonderful and underrated asset to the city of Cincinnati.


“Even in 1965 I knew that Xavier University in Cincinnati represented everything that college football should have been about. They reflected what most college programs and especially those college programs not at the very top of the national charts were all about. Many of these qualities would not only be unbelievable to young players and coaches, but not even conceivable! Simply put, imagine a university playing the equivalent of a Division One schedule where the head football coach was also the Chairman of the Physical Education Department and had full time teaching and administrative  responsibilities; where the assistant coaches all came through the high school ranks within the state; where forty-seven of the sixty-one rostered players were in-state and most of those from the city of Cincinnati and of the fourteen out of state players, only three were not from a bordering state; where a lack of enough ’quality players available’ for two-platoon football guaranteed that despite the rules changes of that season, most players would continue to play both ways; where Saturday classes still required mandatory attendance on home game dates.“


Holding high academic standards, Xavier University fostered growth in its all male student body academically, spiritually, and athletically. The university also turned out numerous players and outstanding coaches, and representing both groups was Edward Kluska. A Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania standout athlete, he attended Xavier and excelled as an All Ohio end while starting on the baseball and basketball teams, with enough talent to have earned an offer to join the St. Louis Cardinals baseball organization following high school. He was popular as an “X” assistant and after serving in the U.S. Army, coached locally at Purcell High School before becoming Xavier’s head coach in 1947. With emphasis on blocking and tackling, and perfecting plays in the basic T-Formation, the results were immediate and in 1949, the Musketeers of Xavier posted a 10-1 record that included a 33-12 Salad Bowl (nee Fiesta Bowl) victory over Arizona State. Winning three consecutive Ohio Intercollegiate Championships from ’49 through 1951 allowed Kluska similar local status to the far better known Sid Gillman, head man at the University Of Cincinnati and future head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Houston Oilers. Kluska’s 9-0-1 team of 1951 complete with 26-0 shutout beat down over the cross town Bearcats gave “X” significant bragging rights and Kluska, Little All America Coach Of The Year honors. Xavier’s record of 35-12-2 between 1947 and the 1951 season made them and Kluska the talk of the Midwest and there was no reason to think that 1952 would bring about a different level of success. Unfortunately, the Musketeers slumped to a 4-6 mark. Despite the presence of halfback Bobby Judd and tackle Arthur “Artie” Hauser, the offense was inconsistent and found itself unable to put more than a touchdown on the board in a number of games. Hauser, who had put himself in the national limelight in ’51, remained outstanding in 1952 on both sides of the ball. He proved to be the primary blocker for Judd but was a true defensive standout. He was named All Ohio and was named to the All Opponent team by every one of the Musketeers game foes. At 240 pounds, he was occasionally used at fullback and was the team’s leading kick returner. Judd had turned heads as a sophomore but was truly at his best during his junior season of ’52, carrying a school record 218 times for 710 yards and six touchdowns. In Xavier’s October 25th 6-0 defeat of Boston College Judd set a number of Musketeer single game records. He punted thirteen times for 445 yards, fielded five punts for 148 return yards, and returned five kickoffs. By the end of the season his seventy-six punts, 2,487 punting yards, twenty five punt returns, and punt return yardage all resulted in Musketeer records.  added records of most punts kicked


The Musketeers wore marvelous uniforms and were easily recognized by their helmets which featured a royal blue “X” logo on the front of the white shell, a logo that was slightly asymmetrical with the left side of the X a bit larger than the right. The “X” was immediately identifiable and gave the Musketeers a logo that signified excellence.