University Of Southern Mississippi

1976 Golden Eagles
(Authentic Reproduction)




If Southern Miss was “finally turning a corner” after their ’75 season, they crashed into a brick wall when they made the turn into 1976 because the season was a 2-9 disaster! After two seasons on the road, they returned to their beautiful home stadium wearing the same light gold helmets with “USM” lettering that allowed the “S” to stand out in a larger size, with black identification numerals on the rear of the shell. White outline of each letter gave the ’76 helmet a bit of distinction but  Collins’ promising first year start as head coach imploded with nine consecutive losses, including a harsh 48-0 opener versus East Carolina and a 713 total yard outburst from BYU’s offense that included 515 passing yards. Somehow Ben Garry rushed for 1236 yards, most of it behind massive 278 pound tackle Eric Smith and All South center Barry Caudill who was drafted by the Rams, and had 216 of those yards against Louisiana Tech. Starting quarterback Ken Alderman gave way to sophomore Jeff Hammond who started and won the season’s final two contests. Despite the terrible numbers, the defense had a good linebacker in Ronald “Clump” Taylor and an outstanding DB in Carl Allen who paired three interceptions with sixty-nine tackles. He played with the Cardinals from 1977 through ’82, three years in the USFL, and had one year in the Arena League. The Mississippi State loss was later forfeited and converted to a USM victory but there was little joy regarding the record.

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