1961 Buffaloes "Leroy Loudermilk"
(Game Worn)



Everett “Sonny” Grandelius had been a Michigan State All American in 1950 and the seventeenth man in NCAA history to rush for 1000 yards in a season. After playing with the N.Y. Giants in 1953, he found his true calling and became a Spartan assistant coach, remaining part of an extremely successful staff that produced a series of very powerful squads. Taking over the head coaching position at Colorado for the 1959 season, Grandelius also brought a number of Michigan State men with him and they molded a competitive Buff team in a short period of time. Perhaps following Coach Grandelius and assistants John Polonchek, “Buck” Nystrom, and Rollie Dotsch from Michigan State, transfer student Leroy Loudermilk, pronounced as CHOWDER-milk, came to Colorado from East Lansing hoping to break into the regular quarterback rotation. He had been a standout prep player at Wilkinsburg High School in the environs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, following in the steps of other area greats like George Blanda, Babe Parilli, and Johnny Unitas. Loudermilk had a memorable senior season that led to numerous scholarship offers before deciding to become a Michigan State Spartan. Once at Colorado, the 5’11”, 186 pound quarterback understood he was up against expected starter Gale Weidner and back-ups Frank Montera and Pat Young, all lettermen from the 1960 season. Claude Crabb, who would go on to a seven year NFL career with the Redskins, Eagles, and Rams, primarily as a defensive back, had been in the quarterback mix until early in the ’60 campaign when the coaches utilized his rushing ability from the right halfback position and he too was seen as an emergency quarterback replacement if needed. Still, as the 1961 spring session progressed, Loudermilk was up to the task and competed well, finishing the spring’s final live game by completing eleven of twenty-one passes, for 159 yards and four touchdowns. As a player oriented towards his team’s success, Loudermilk could not have asked for much more from the ’61 season. Led by All American guard and linebacker Joe Romig, the Big Eight Champion Buffaloes stormed through their schedule, losing only in an upset to Utah by a 21-12 score. They were invited to the Orange Bowl and lost to a great LSU squad but the enthusiasm for football was rampant on the Boulder campus. Unfortunately, Loudermilk saw little playing time because of the excellent performance of starting quarterback Weidner who dazzled to the extent that he was chosen to the Colorado University All Century Football Team. Seeing only five minutes of official playing time during the 1961 season, Loudermilk was unable to complete the only two passes he threw and took a sack for a loss of eighteen yards.



The excitement generated by the 1961 season was wiped out days before spring practice began for 1962 as it was revealed that Head Coach Grandelius and his staff had compiled a long list of recruiting violations, providing cash and automobiles to numerous players. In April of 1962 Grandelius and his staff were fired and newspapers reported that this was the first time a college coach had in fact been relieved of his duties because of a violation of recruiting regulations. The housecleaning left inexperienced Bud Davis and a staff of primarily high school coaches to take over with little preparation time going into the 1962 season. The record was a poor 2-8 and the team was ineffective. Loudermilk did not letter but his legacy is left to HELMET HUT and our readers with his beautiful and rather well preserved 1961 helmet. The very distinctive silver shell that was adorned with the unique black Buffalo horns remains one of the best collegiate helmets of its day or any day. Careful inspection of this terrifically preserved Riddell RK headgear with single bar mask, indicates that the beautiful sweeping black buffalo horn was actually a two piece decal, configured that way for easier application. One of a number of unique helmets worn by Colorado this specific helmet that was worn from 1959 through ’61 remains a classic.

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