The 1953 Press Guide
Rich Linde, 17 July 2009
I have over 40 Washington Husky media
guides in my possession. Some of them take up a lot of library shelf
space. For example, the 2004 media guide totals 400 pages. Per NCAA
edict in 2005, the printed media guides have been restricted to 208
pages or less. This means that most of the Husky record book has been
left out of the current guide. However, the record book along with
accompanying statistics can be found online at gohuskies.com in PDF
form, the downloading of which requires patience and good connection
There is some talk of eliminating
printed media guides altogether. According to Eye
on Sports Media, “There are two competing proposals on the table.
One, backed by the PAC 10 and Big Ten, would eliminate printed guides
entirely. The other, put forth by the Southeastern Conference would
allow for continued printing, but ban their distribution to recruits.”
Eliminating the production of printed
media guides would involve significant cost savings for many
The media guides in my possession date
back to 1953. In particular the 1953 guide -- which features on its
cover Left End George Black, who caught 42 passes for 637 yards and 7
touchdowns in 1952 -- contains some interesting facts in its 32 pages.
For one, did you know that legendary
coach Lou Saban was an assistant coach at Washington in 1953? He left
Washington in 1954 for an assistance job at Northwestern and was named
its head coach in 1955. Later, Saban coached the Buffalo Bills to the
AFL championship in 1964 and 1965.
Legendary Minnesota quarterback Bobby
Cox played on the 1953 Husky freshman team.
- Inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1988, tackle George Strugar,
known as a "one-man wrecking crew," played on the freshman team in
1953. As a professional football player, Strugar played for the Los Angeles Rams, the Pittsburg Steelers,
and the New York Titans/Jets.
Tackle Dean Parsons (225, 6-7) was the
biggest player on the 1953 Husky varsity squad.
Sandy Lederman (185, 5-11, So) assumed
the quarterback’s role in 1953, following the legendary Don Heinrich. In
1952, Heinrich led the nation in passing, completing 137 passes.
Lederman’s claim to fame was a 69-yard
touchdown pass completion to George Black against Utah in 1953. In that
year, he also completed a 57-yard touchdown pass to Mike Monroe against
Colorado. Lederman completed 92 of 189 passes for 1157 yards and 8
touchdowns. He was picked 14 times, in a season that went 3-6-1.
Washington lost to Colorado by a point, but beat Utah by a touchdown.
In shutting out Oregon 49-0 in 1952,
the Huskies intercepted 9 passes. QB George Shaw threw 7 of them, which
is still a Husky record. Shaw was the first pick in the 1955 NFL draft
and played for the Baltimore Colts.
In 1953, Don Heinrich, Hugh McElhenny
and George Black held most of the Huskies offensive statistics.
Six of Washington’s 1953 opponents
operated out of the single wing predominately. The other four used the T
formation, as did the Huskies.
- Tickets to Washington’s home games
were priced at $3.50.
The Huskies’ canine mascot went by the
simple appellation, “Ski.”
The hotels in which the team would
its 1953 road trips are listed in the press guide.
The 1953 press book lists Washington
fourth in its aggregate Pacific Coast Conference standings (dating
from 1916 to 1952) behind USC, California and Stanford. Following
Washington are Washington State, UCLA, Oregon State, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Up
to that time, the Huskies had won 114 games, lost 90 and tied 18. The
guide lists Washington as PCC champions in 1916, 1919, 1925, and 1936.
In 1953, John Cherberg assumed the
head coaching job at Washington, following Howard Odell, who
was fired after going 7-3 in 1952.
University President Dr. Henry Schmitz had this to say about the firing:
“There was no consideration of the win-loss record nor was there any
criticism of Coach Odell as an individual. Rather the problems concern
itself entirely with relationships involved in the general management of
the athletic program.”
Prior to his being named head coach, Cherberg mentored the Husky
freshman football teams, with Odell naming him freshman coach in 1948. After
losing his first game to the Oregon Ducklings, 25-24 in Portland, Cherberg’s pups won 22 straight games. Basically, his freshman coaching
record was the touchstone of his resume printed in the 1953 press book.
Beating out Lederman for the job as chief helmsman, Bobby Cox (180, 6-0,
So.) quarterbacked the Huskies in 1954.
Just as he hit his stride, Cox decided to quit. Caught in the squabble
between ‘downtown’ alumni and Cherberg, and fearing for his own
eligibility, he transferred to Minnesota and sat out the 1955 season.
the Golden Gophers to a 6-1-2 record and a No. 12 ranking in the final
AP poll in 1956. Cox was pictured on the Nov. 4, 1957 cover of Sports
Illustrated next to a caption that said “Bobby Cox of Minnesota: Best
In October 1955, Cherberg, a tough
disciplinarian, suspended Lederman for exhibiting a "poor attitude."
Cherberg told Lederman not to show up for practices or games.
Relationships between the players and coaches became more strained as
the 1955 season progressed.
Steve Roake quarterbacked the Huskies
in 1955, as did Al Ferguson in 1956.
Cherberg coached three seasons at Washington, ending up 10-18-2. He left
the program in turmoil after the 1955 season
As a result, QB
Lee Grosscup and several other
promising freshmen from California left the Huskies in January 1956. Grosscup transferred to Utah and was a first-round draft pick in 1959,
going tenth in the draft.
The upshot of it all, Cherberg was the second of Washington’s coaches to
be fired because of a players’ revolt. His exit speech included words
that would eventually torpedo the Pacific Coast Conference, “Could it be
I was fired because (booster) Torchy Torrance was faced with the
possibility of losing control of some of his players? Is it true that
some players are receiving $200 a month—far above the amount approved by
the grant-in-aid program?”
Those remarks led to an NCAA investigation of a slush fund run by an
organization of Washington boosters. Eventually, the old PCC was
replaced by the AAWU in 1959, a five-team conference consisting of the
four California schools and Washington.