University Of Southern Mississippi

1966 - 67 Golden Eagles
(Authentic Reproduction)




The 1966 season presented Coach Vann’s team donned in what had become their usual old gold helmet with one-inch black center stripe. The three-inch player identification numerals on each side of the shell were changed to a block style. It was again expected to be a season controlled by the Vandal defense and for the most part, it was under the leadership of Captain and linebacker Ken Avery who went on to a productive pro career with the Giants, Bengals, and Chiefs [see HELMET HUT ]. He was later successful in the parking garage and limousine service businesses. The offensive “Raiders” behind quarterbacks Glen Bynum and Terry McMillan and the rushing of Milo McCarthy was productive enough to keep all of the games competitive except the finale against an Alabama squad that finished number three in the nation. The 348 total yards the Tide put on the Vandals was statistically “expensive” but the proud defensive unit with 230 pound defensive end Tom “Skee” Roussel and 5’9”, 210 “Poochie” Stringfellow, who later became a successful high school coach after a try-out with Ottawa of the CFL, still finished the season as the national leader in total defense. Devrow finished his career with fifteen total interceptions and played for the Browns in ‘67. Close losses to Memphis State by 6-0, Mississippi State by 10-9, and Ole Miss by 14-7, where the Southmen had to punt seventeen times, produced what was for Coach Vann, a poor 6-4 record.

After the ’66 season, offensive coach Lambright left to become the head coach at USM rival Louisiana Tech where he coached Terry Bradshaw and took the Bulldogs to the College Division Regional Championship Game in 1968 and ’69, 1971 and ’72, and won the National title in ’73. The Southerners were left with a brutal 1967 schedule that would have them facing four top opponents in five weeks, including SEC in-state rivals Mississippi State and Ole Miss, and highly ranked Alabama in Mobile. The team hung tough for three quarters versus the Tide before falling 25-3 and then, on October 14, made history as they served as Mississippi State’s Homecoming opponent and upset their hosts 21-14. Quarterback Tommy Boutwell, a Perkinston JC transfer, who completed fifty-five of 104 passes for the season, found wingback Ronnie Channell for a touchdown pass and tailback Tony Yelverton ran for the winning touchdown. Coach Vann noted this win as “the greatest squad victory in the history of football at Southern,” and they almost had another the following week in a close 14-7 loss to Ole Miss. By season’s end leading rusher Johnny Johnson’s 503 yards were augmented by his twenty receptions, running well behind the blocking of fullback Frank Johnston and guard Ihor Kondrat who also served as a solid place kicker. The Vandal defense remained a rock-ribbed unit, built around 260 pound noseguard Rex Barnes, linebacker Larry Ussery who claimed four of his six total interceptions against Terry Bradshaw of Louisiana Tech, and defensive back and return man Steve Fore who had seven interceptions. Roussel who had always been one of the leaders, spent three seasons at linebacker with the Redskins, two with New Orleans, and one with the Eagles. The squad finished the season ranked third nationally against the rush and sixth in total defense.

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