Skip to main content
Original Issue


They may be small and they may belong to either the NCAA or NAIA, but it is hard to beat them for spirit and enthusiasm

Most colleges which come under the rating of "small" belong to either the NCAA or the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), and some even belong to both. The NCAA lists about 340 members in its college division and maintains strict supervision over their adherence to its eligibility and recruiting code. There are no formal championships awarded in football, but the NCAA has certified five postseason bowl games (Tangerine, Prairie View, Mineral Water, Citricado and Sun) in which its member schools may participate.

The NAIA, on the other hand, has a membership of 455 but has little investigating or enforcing powers. However, it does serve as a supervisory body, overseeing the activities of its members in 32 districts. The NAIA also sponsors post-season championship playoffs, selecting the four leading member teams in the country to compete against each other in two games early in December with the winners meeting in the nationally televised Holiday Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla. the middle of December.

Many of the small colleges play a brand of football that would rank them well up among the leaders of the major conferences. Among the 13 best are those whose 1959 prospects are reviewed in the following columns.

Arizona State at Flagstaff: In three years under Coach Max Spilsbury the Lumberjacks have won the Frontier Conference championship twice and tied for it the other time. Last fall they won 10 straight, including the NAIA playoff against Gustavus Adolphus, before losing to Northeast Oklahoma in the Holiday Bowl. This fall there will be 17 lettermen to carry on, and the team will be faster and better balanced. Glen Morgan, an NAIA All-America pick, is the catalyst on the line. Directing the offense will be Passer Ted Sorich, who will aim for Al Rex, an end equipped with sure hands and fast feet.

California Poly (San Luis Obispo): Coach Roy Hughes has one of the finest backfields in the country but will be only so-so in the line. One set of backs is labeled the Elephant Backfield, the other group the Pony Backfield. Offensive stars should be Quarterback Tom Klosterman, Fullback Bumper Bowser and a pair of thundering halfbacks named Gary Van Horn and Claude Turner. Up front will be Carlos Gonzales, a 230-pound Little All-America guard, and Center Rich Max. Adding a little extra something will be newcomer Sylvester (Boxcar) Cooper, a 290-pound tackle.

Gustavus Adolphus: Seven times in the past nine seasons the Gusties have won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Conference championship, and they should do it again—in spite of losing a pair of Little All-America selections, End Jack Westin and Center Bill Rill. Coach Lloyd Hollingsworth will use highly competent Bob Swig-gum, who connected on 66 of 116 passes for 941 yards last year, to direct his troops again. Dick Johnson will spur the ground attack. On the line the stalwarts will be End Rollie Hanks, Guard Dick Rood and Tackle Bill Beck.

College of Idaho: Although blessed with Quarterback Charlie Alvaro, one of the finest of collegiate passers, last year's log showed a poor 3-6-1 record. This will be a better season, according to Coach Babe Brown, who feels his boys have enough talent and experience to cause trouble in the Pacific Northwest Conference. In 1958 Alvaro was second among small-college passers with a total of 1,485 yards gained as he completed 112 of 225 attempts.

Juniata: The Barreling Berriers—twins Bill and Jim—will lead the Indians to another successful campaign and possibly their sixth straight undefeated season in seven years. Last fall, Fullback Bill established five school marks: points for season (110), points for career (256), touchdowns for season (17), yards rushing for game (213), yards rushing for season (736). Jim, a halfback, was the offensive leader in 1957 but last season sustained a fractured wrist. The Berriers will be protected by a stubborn crew of linemen led by Tackles Bob Solomon and Al Dungan.

Luther: Things happen when Brad Hustad gets the ball. For one thing, he zips along for an average gain of over six yards as he outruns, outmaneuvers and outclasses empty-armed tacklers. In two seasons he has amassed 2,755 yards on the ground. In 1957 he became the first sophomore ever to lead the nation in rushing. Last year he narrowly missed the distinction of being the first player to win this honor in successive seasons. If Hustad can maintain his pace he will set a mark for having gained more yardage overland than any player in collegiate history. Back to direct the attack for Coach Ed Schweizer will be Alan Fedge, a dandy all-round performer. In the past five seasons Schweizer's clubs have won 38, lost five, tied three. The Norsemen, dethroned by Wartburg in 1958, will have an excellent chance of regaining the Iowa Conference honors if they can find some reliable replacements for the defensive line.

Northeast Missouri: This tiny Kirksville, Mo. school is typical of the many fine state teachers colleges in America. One difference, though, is Halfback Dale Mills, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound thunderbolt who last year won the small-college rushing laurels. He picked up 1,358 yards, averaged over seven yards a carry and scored 122 points. Graduation wrecked the line, and Coach Red Wade has little hope of dethroning Southeast Missouri for the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association crown. However, Wade has Mills and Mills has plenty.

Prairie View A & M: Two-time Little All-America Guard Gentris Hornsby and Rufus Granderson, a 250-pound tackle, are stanchions of defensive might for this rugged little Texas squad. Coach Billy Nicks's boys are favored to win another Southwestern Conference banner, and with backs like Dave Webster and Archie Seals and a sturdy line they probably will. Webster hit on 53 of 101 aerials, and his favorite target, End John Farrington, who has done the 100-yard dash in 9.5, will be on hand.

Sewanee: It was in 1957 that Coach Shirley Majors came to this small college in Sewanee, Tenn. Within two years the Tigers had their first undefeated record in over half a century, whipping eight foes and outscoring the opposition 285-28. This school was founded in 1858, and it was fitting that 1958 turned out to be such a big success. Sewanee was once a member of the old Southern Conference before it divided to form the Southern and Southeast conferences. In 1939, after losing 47 SEC clashes in a row, the Tigers dropped out of the league to take on competitors of their own size. Majors will have 30 lettermen, including Tailback Walt Wilder and End Jim (Hoot) Gibson. Sewanee's line, which gave up only 84.6 yards a game on the ground, returns almost intact.

West Chester: One of the most incredible sets of statistics last fall belonged to this perennial Pennsylvania State Teachers Conference powerhouse. En route to winning nine of 10 games, West Chester staggered opponents with 514 points, gave up a meager 67 and placed third in total offense among small colleges with 443.7 yards a contest. The Rams lost 14 letter winners and do not have a quarterback among the dozen returnees. Leading the veterans will be Halfback Bill Shockley, who finished third nationally in scoring with 132 points. Best of the linemen is End Ken Campbell, who grabbed nine touchdown tosses in 1958. Coach Glenn Killinger has a pack of promising newcomers, and if West Chester can upend Villanova in the opener they should go unbeaten.

Wheaton: At the end of this season the Crusaders, who should win their sixth straight league crown, will drop out of the College Conference of Illinois to seek stiffer competition. Coach Harvey Chrouser has lost some fine linemen. Still, he will have a strong squad made up of players who arrived from far-distant points. His ends come from opposite corners of the country: Dick Foushee from Glen-dale, Calif. and Tom Malmberg from New Haven, Conn. Co-captains will be Backs Don Brock of Petaluma, Calif. and Steve Murray of Abington, Pa. Last season the Crusaders were second nationally in total offense, averaging 447.6 yards a game. The standout in the backfield is Quarterback Bruce Whipple, a slick passer from Bellingham, Wash. Up front the hardest man to get by is Guard Al Seeland of Brooklyn.

Willamette: Coach Ted Ogdahl's Bearcats will be more up in the air this fall. Up in the air, that is, with their offense. Keith Burres, the new quarterback, is a standout passer, and he will accelerate the air attack. There is plenty of running power, too, what with Halfbacks Stan Solomon and Denny Sarver around. Howard Stroebel, a fast-moving tackle, and Marv Cisneros, a rugged guard, are the sturdiest of the linemen.

Wittenberg: This Springfield, Ohio college is expected to notch its third consecutive Ohio Conference trophy. Only three of 24 monogram men were lost, and Coach Bill Edwards has his entire starting offensive backfield ready. Ron Lancaster, a passing wizard, will direct the team and will get a lot of support from Fullback John Kasunick and Halfbacks Bernie Weiss and Ron Murphy.


SHIFTY MOVES by Brad Hustad of Luther have netted him 2,755 yards in two years.




QUICK PASSES by Ron Lancaster, Wittenberg leader.


QUICK RUNS by Dale Mills bolster Northeast Missouri.


QUICK THROWS by Charlie Alvaro, Idaho's hope.