Photo rewind: UH’s uniform journey through the 1960s

We explore the tumultuous decade of the 1960s through the lens of UH Football uniforms.

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The 1961 UH Football season was Hal Lahar’s last as UH coach. Boosters had been planning it for a while, and Lahar resigned that September after a home loss to Mississippi State (but was allowed to finish the season). He ended his five-year stint with a mediocre record (24-23-2) but was let go due to going 1-9 vs. AP Top-10 teams. Worse, his teams scored just 47 points combined in those ten games.

But everyone loved Lahar, so boosters pitched in and bought him a car 4 months after he was fired.

Nothing says, “Hit the road, Hal!” quite like a new car.

But Lahar began UH’s journey into progressively better uniforms by the 1960s. Here, in 1958 is what UH (and almost all schools) went with during that era: a dark or white jersey and numbers on the helmet:

#10 Pistol Pat Studstil carries as #40 Dicky Mauldin throws a block // The Houstonian Yearbook

By 1960, UH had added a double stripe to the helmet:

QB Don Sessions #10 hands off to #12 David Bradshaw – 1960. // The Houstonian Yearbook

In ’61, Lahar’s last season, an LA Rams-like stripe was added to the jersey:

Ronnie Johnson #64 and Dick Kirtley #62 during the 1961 season. // The Houstonian Yearbook

Bill Yeoman was hired from Duffy Daugherty’s Michigan State in mid-1961 and went to work on overhauling the UH program. One thing he brought from East Lansing was putting the school logo on the helmet.

Coaches had worn the interlocking UH on hats for several seasons, but Yeoman insisted it belonged on the helmet. That way, in newspaper photos or the rare TV highlight, UH could be identified:

Bobby Brezina sporting the interlocking UH in 1962. // The Houstonian Yearbook

A few years later, not much had changed in Houston’s look. To open the 1967 season against Florida State in the Astrodome, UH’s uniforms were much the same as they had been in 1962:

1967 opener vs FSU // The Houstonian Yearbook

But the next week, the Cougars traveled to play Yeoman’s former team, the two-time reigning national champion Michigan State Spartans. In 1964, the Spartans had begun wearing Michigan State across their jerseys. Yeoman loved Daugherty’s idea and debuted Houston’s new road jerseys in East Lansing:

#22 Don Bean running with the ball in the new HOUSTON jerseys – 1967. // The Houstonian Yearbook

But UH was only able to add Houston to the away whites. As seen here later in 1967 vs. Memphis, the home red jerseys only had numbers:

Warren McVea #42 and Dick Woodall #11 vs Memphis 1967 // The Houstonian Yearbook

Even though UH was not the first to put the school name across the jersey, the Cougars were still trendsetters across the south. In the 20-20 tie in 1968, Texas had added the Longhorn to the helmet but not the jersey:

#34 Carlos Bell at UT // The Houstonian Yearbook

UGA’s 1968 uniforms also included the helmet logo but still a blank jersey:

#25 Mike Simpson dives at the ball carrier // The Houstonian Yearbook

Johnny Vaught’s Ole Miss program was a 1960s power but was still wearing only numbers on the helmet and jersey in ’68:

#34 Carlos Bell running wild in Oxford // The Houstonian Yearbook

In 1969, UH debuted the “Houston” red home jerseys:

#28 Jim Strong bursts through the Ole Miss defense // The Houstonian Yearbook

On the last day of the decade, the Cougars destroyed Auburn in the Bluebonnet Bowl to cap off a 9-2 season, the most wins in school history at the time. Decked out in their red Houston jerseys, players carried Coach Yeoman off the Astrodome field:

Bill Yeoman at the 1969 Bluebonnet Bowl // The Houstonian

Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, is proud to be a corporate sponsor as the Official Personal Injury Law Firm for the University of Houston Athletics.

“As a University of Houston alum, I am honored that the University of Houston Athletics chose our firm to be their official and exclusive personal injury law firm,” says Stewart J. Guss, the firm’s founder.