The University of Maine will honor the 1965 Tangerine Bowl football team on Saturday night by wearing throwback helmet decals mimicking the one used by that squad.
The gesture is designed to help celebrate the 1965 team’s enshrinement into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame on Friday evening.
“I love it. We want to do stuff like this all the time now,” UMaine head coach Nick Charlton said. “It’s important to do different things, to have some traditions that we bring back.”
He said the players have embraced the temporary change to the “winged” helmet look.
“I also think it sends the right message to the community that we’re respecting the ’65 team, who is getting recognized here this weekend. We have a couple other things up our sleeves for later in the year,” Charlton said.
UMaine junior quarterback Chris Ferguson said wearing the decals demonstrates respect for previous UMaine teams.
“It’s really cool to honor those guys,” Ferguson said. “I love meeting people that came and played Maine football back in the day. That’s really important. It means a lot.”
The 1965 Black Bears, under head coach Harold Westerman, went 8-1 and won the Yankee Conference championship. They faced Southern Conference champ East Carolina in Orlando, Florida, and East Carolina won 31-0.
According to spartanjerseys.com, the winged helmet logo came into existence in 1930 when it was introduced by the Spalding sporting goods company. It was designed in part to help quarterbacks find their receivers.
It was worn initially by Ohio State, then by Indiana, Georgetown and Michigan State.
The path to the use of the logo by UMaine originated in 1935 at Princeton University under coach Fritz Crisler, who took it to the University of Michigan three years later when he became the Wolverines coach.
Dave Nelson played for Crisler at Michigan and adopted the helmet logo when he became the coach at Hillsdale College in Michigan, then took it to Harvard University and finally to UMaine in 1949.
Then, when Nelson was hired to coach at the University of Delaware in 1951, he again implemented the logo for the Blue Hens, which have used it ever since.
UMaine discontinued use of the winged helmet logo in the 1970s.
UMaine Associate Equipment Manager Steve Jones said football equipment manager Shelby Coker removed the old decals and replaced them with the winged decals.
“It took him about 25 minutes per helmet and he did 70 helmets,” Jones said.
He said the biggest challenge for Coker was negotiating the contours of the helmet and the vent holes.