CU Homecoming … 1950

This week, I received a wonderful gift.

A friend of a friend had a CU football program … from the Buffs’ 1950 homecoming game against Oklahoma. He also had a Colorado Alumnus magazine from 1951. The former Buff didn’t have much use for these old mementos, but our mutual friend knew that they would find a welcome home with me.

So I have to share. Below are some of the pages from the program, along with some notes and quotes.

Colorado v. Oklahoma, October 28, 1950


Cover, CU Homecoming Program, 1950
Cover, CU Homecoming Program, 1950












Background … The CU Homecoming game in 1950 was played against the Oklahoma Sooners. It was the first game between the two teams as members of the same conference. Colorado had joined the Big Seven in 1948, but had yet to play Oklahoma as member of the conferene. The Sooners were coached by Bud Wilkinson, and were coming off on an undefeated season in 1949 (though 11-0, Oklahoma was not named the national champions, with Notre Dame given the title with a 9-0 record).

Oklahoma came into the game with a 5-0 record, a No. 3 ranking, and an overall win streak of 26 games. Colorado, for its part, was 3-2-1 heading into the contest, with one of the wins a big 28-19 victory over Nebraska.

Oklahoma would go on to win the game, 28-19, and would take an undefeated record (and No. 1 ranking) to the Sugar Bowl, where the Sooners lost to No. 7 Kentucky … but were still national champions, because back then there a final poll was not taken after the bowl games.


Cigarette ad, with “bellboy” official explaining penalty calls













The program … The CU Homecoming program has many interesting tidbits, including the above ad on the inside front cover, seen above.  Not only was this a cigarette ad, but you have to get a kick out of the claim for “no cigarette hangover”.

 Rules changes … For 1950, several new rules changes were instituted, including … “Abolishment of fair catch. There is no longer such a thing as a “fair catch” or signal for a “fair catch”. The receiving player must be given a fair chance to make their catch without molestation. If he is interfered with by an opponent, he will be awarded a 15-yard penalty, plus the ball, whether he catches it or not. This rule change gets away from the confusing situation where a player shades his eyes from the sun, makes a catch, scores on a long run, and penalized for giving an invalid signal” … “Kicker and holder both protected. There has long been a 15-yard penalty for roughing the kicker. Not so with the holder of a place kick, who was sometimes subjected to quite a drubbing. Under the new rule, both the kicker and holder are protected by the same roughing penalty”.

"Golden Buffalo" backfield, including Tom Brookshier
“Golden Buffalo” backfield, including Tom Brookshier













The “Golden Buffaloes” …  CU head coach Dal Ward was in his third season as head coach of the Buffs. After going 3-6 and 3-7 in his first two campaigns, the Buffs appeared to be on the verge of their first winning season since 1946. The Buffs held their own against Oklahoma that afternoon, with a 28-19 the closest any Big Seven team would get to upending the Sooners in Big Seven play.

The Buffs were led by halfback Tom Brookshier (top photo, above). Brookshier would go on to be drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, and enjoy a Pro Bowl career as a defensive back. Brookshier is most remembered, though, for being the long-time partner of Pat Summerall on CBS’s NFL broadcasts.

Tom Brookshier








Famous name … There were other names familiar to CU fans in the 1950 Homecoming program. In addition to Dal Ward and Tom Brookshier, there was a certain Denver attorney mentioned in the Denver Alumni Association ad, below. It’s the Vice President of the Club … one Byron White. Then just a famous former Buff and Rhodes Scholar, White would, of course, go on to serve as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1962-93).

Denver Buff Club ... with a soon-to-be-famous officer
Denver Buff Club … with a soon-to-be-famous officer













 Other Famous Names in the 1950 Homecoming program … Frank Prentup was the Assistant Backfield coach and baseball coach for the Buffs in 1950 (the CU soccer fields are named in his honor) … Harry G. Carlson was the athletic director (for whom the Carlson Gym was named) … Starr Yelland was the KOA announcer of the game … Billy Vessels was a halfback for the Sooners that day. Vessels would go on to win the Heisman trophy in 1952.

And, just for fun … One of the ad pages from the program, including a Studebaker ad, an ad for United Airlines (with “TWO Routes to Hawaii”), and ads for women’s clothing …












The Colorado Alumnus Magazine … July, 1951

The cover for CU Alumni magazine for 1951 speaks for itself. Check out Folsom Field! No second deck around the bowl (added in 1956), with trees behind the stadium (long before the Duane Physics building was constructed)

Colorado Alumnus - Folsom Field without second tier ... or Duane Physics
Colorado Alumnus – Folsom Field without second tier … or Duane Physics













So, you think you’re getting up there …  Honored in the 1951 Colorado Alumnus magazine were the graduates … from 1901, who were celebrating their 50th reunion. Think about this group. The could have had parents who had fought in the Civil War, and grandchildren – grandchildren! – who could have fought in World War II.


50-year Class Reunion ... for the CU Class of 1901!
50-year Class Reunion … for the CU Class of 1901!












So, you think CU has it bad in the Pac-12 … Despite the ridiculous rumor that CU is under the gun to perform better on the football field, lest the Buffs be dismissed from the Pac-12 for lack of performance, check out this article below from the 1951 CU Alumnus.

It starts out … “Colorado Buffaloes have yet to win their first Big Seven conference championship in any sport (remember that CU won the Pac-12 cross-country title in the fall of 2011, the very first Pac-12 title awarded), but, three and a half years of competition in the new, tougher conference, they have shown that they ‘belong’.

“Competing in the ten official conference sports, the Buffs have averaged fifth place in the final conference standings, just below Kansas and above Kansas State and Iowa State”.

CU struggling as new member of the Big Seven (sound familiar?)
CU struggling as new member of the Big Seven (sound familiar?)













4 Replies to “CU Homecoming … 1950 Style”

  1. Great memories. I went to that game with my parents. I was 8 yoa. My dad’s best friend was from OK and every other year was a road trip for one of the families for the CU/OU game. Been lovin’ the Buffs for a long time. Go Buffs. bh

  2. I was in Junior Highschool then and my big brother and I went to DU’s football game the night before in Denver. Bud Wilkinson and some of his staff were sitting about two rows in front of us. Dal Ward ran the single wing and we had some pretty good teams while he was coach

  3. Aaah yes. Starr Yelland. (When I was a boy, I always thought that was a professional name and thought it was spelled Star Yellin’…. what a name for a broadcaster). What a voice and style. I would love to hear some cuts from some of his broadcasts. It may be that I was just young and impressionable, but he could describe more about one football play than anyone I can remember. I was just 12 y.o. then. This is going back to the days of Zack Jordan, Frank Bernardi, Carroll Hardy and John “The Bull” Bayuk (sp. ?).

    Stuart, thanks for sharing.

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