Mississippi State University

1969-71 Bulldogs
(Authentic Reproduction)




Perhaps seeking to change his luck and inspire the squad, Coach Shira brought the team onto the field for 1969 in a new helmet that featured a white shell with a one-inch maroon center stripe, maroon identification numerals in the rear, and a reprise of the unique M with arrows logo used on the ’66 helmets, this time in maroon, and placed on both sides of the helmet. Any victories would have been an improvement over the winless ’68 season and beating Richmond 17-14 in the opener gave Shira his first win since October of 1967. Receivers Sammy Milner and David Smith stood out as quarterbacks Tommy Pharr, who spent 1970 as a DB with the Buffalo Bills, and Joe Reed routinely put the ball in the air more than forty times each game. The defense however was a disaster, giving up seventy-four points to Houston in a humiliating shutout loss, fifty-two to Auburn, sixty-one to LSU, and forty-eight to Ole Miss, very much explaining the 3-7 record. Entering 1970 Shira knew he would have to play quite a few sophomores from the freshmen team that went 4-1 in ’69. His plan was successful by recent MSU standards; a 6-5 record, three SEC victories, and a win over Ole Miss. The September 26 defeat of Vanderbilt marked the first SEC win the program had since 1965 and stars were emerging. Shira’s SEC Coach of The Year Award was a popular decision. Joe Reed was a two-time SEC Back Of The Week Award winner and leading receiver David Smith an All Conference selection via his 1021 reception yards. Reed would enjoy three seasons with San Francisco and five with the Lions. He augmented his second string status by recording a record album with the Forty Niners cheerleaders as his back-up singers. End Sammy Milner completed his excellent college career as a receiver and punter, and top rusher Lewis Grubbs posted 644 yards. The defense improved markedly from ’69, with linebacker Chuck Dees and DB Frank Dowsing named to All SEC squads, and secondary mate Ken Phares named to the Second Team. Jerry Conrad was the tough guy up front. Dowsing, and defensive tackle Robert Bell whose fans would chant, “Give ‘em hell, Robert Bell,” were the first two African American players to represent Bulldog football.

With 1970’s finish causing hopes to be quite high going into 1971, many ignored the fact that with Reed, Smith, and Milner gone, much of the offense went with them. A three quarterback rotation did not ease the offensive woes and halfback Grubbs returned but his rushing production dropped to less than three yards per carry despite the effective blocking of tight end Eric Hoggatt. The Wishbone was instituted on an emergency basis with little positive effect. The defense had standouts in DB’s Phares and Dowsing, linebacker Dees, and tackles Conrad, who was nominated for a berth on the Kodak All American Team. Robert Bell who had played for Coach Tyler at Meridian High School, continued to contribute. The 2-9 finish and a sole conference victory over Florida, with a 48-0 whitewash by Ole Miss made for a failed season.

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