We explore the tumultuous decade of the 1960s through the lens of UH Football uniforms.
the daily #19 | Archives
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:
By 1960, UH had added a double stripe to the helmet:
In ’61, Lahar’s last season, an LA Rams-like stripe was added to the jersey:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
UGA’s 1968 uniforms also included the helmet logo but still a blank jersey:
Johnny Vaught’s Ole Miss program was a 1960s power but was still wearing only numbers on the helmet and jersey in ’68:
In 1969, UH debuted the “Houston” red home jerseys:
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: