University Of Utah

1974 Utes
(Authentic Reproduction)




For reasons not understood by everyone involved with Utah athletics, it was assumed that former Utah and St. Louis Cardinals great Larry Wilson would be the Utes’ next head coach. He had completed an NFL Hall OF Fame career in 1972 while very much being a player-coach on the field and served as their secondary coach in ’73. The negotiations were drawn out and the deal was never completed, leaving the program to scramble to name a new head coach. The decision was made to name Meek defensive assistant Tom Lovat the new leader. A former Ute guard and linebacker from the ’58-1960 squads, he proved himself a good college assistant after coaching two Utah high school programs well. He was Utah’s D-line coach, did the same at Idaho State, and was the defensive coordinator for the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders. He returned to Salt Lake City as part of Meek’s staff and perhaps hiring “in house” was expedient. Unfortunately for the man who later carried the reputation as Utah’s worst football coach of all time, his tenure coincided with the public awareness that Utah’s facilities were perhaps the most antiquated and bereft in their conference, and with the ascension of the BYU program. One sportswriter described the Utes’ football offerings as “not very much beyond wooden goalposts and leather helmets.” Lovat scrapped the alternating helmet approach of Meek, presenting the Utes in a plain red shell with gray masks. The team essentially collapsed, defeating only New Mexico while posting a 1-10 mark. Running back Ike Spencer churned out 632 yards on the ground and after being drafted by the Vikings, earned advanced degrees and became a school administrator. Willie Armstead proved to be a solid receiver who went through camp with the Browns and Patriots and was a three-time All Star in a CFL career that spanned seven seasons. Linebacker John Huddleston was the team’s only All Conference pick.

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