The 1960 Championship Season, Part 3

“The First Head Coach & Roster”


PREVIOUSLY – The 1960 Championship Season, Part 1: Birthpains

PREVIOUSLY – The 1960 Championship Season, Part 2: The Cannon Caper

After establishing the Oilers franchise, Bud Adams hired Lou Rymkus to be the team’s first coach.

Rymkus played professional football for the Washington Redskins with “Slingin’” Sammy Baugh in 1943.

Rymkus as a player with the Browns

The next year, Rymkus joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served until the end of World War II, which might have at least partially cemented his reputation as a hard-nosed, no-nonsense throwback sort of coach.

He then returned to pro football with the All-America Football Conference and played for legendary coach Paul Brown and the Cleveland Browns.

Rymkus played both offense and defense as a tackle and blocked for star quarterback Otto Graham. He was named to the All-AAFC teams in 1947, 1948, and 1949.

Cleveland joined the NFL in 1950, and Rymkus helped the Browns claim the NFL Championship during its first season in the league.

He retired as a player in 1951, having never missed a game or practice during his six years with the Browns franchise.

In 1952, Rymkus accepted a position as offensive line coach at Indiana University. One season later, he headed north to work with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

In 1954, he returned to the NFL as a line coach for the Green Bay Packers, where he served for four seasons.

On January 9, 1958, Rymkus accepted an assistant coaching position with the Los Angeles Rams and coached there until January 1960, when Adams signed him to a three-year contract as head coach of the Oilers.

Adams initially wanted to hire Tom Landry, but Landry was uninterested in the new league.

Adams then tried to hire University of Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson, but Wilkinson had little faith in the new league and decided to stay at Oklahoma.

So Adams went with his third choice, Rymkus.

The 1960 Oiler team was loaded with talent: 31-year-old George Blanda, who had played quarterback for the Chicago Bears; 1959 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon, and wide receivers Charlie Hennigan and Bill Groman, to name a few.

The 1960 Oiler roster/depth chart:
QB 1: George Blanda (also K)
QB 2: Jacky Lee
HB 1: Billy Cannon (also PR)
HB 2: Don Brown
FB 1: Dave Smith
FB 2: Charley Tolar
FB 3: Bob White
LT: Al Jamison
LG: Bob Talamini
C: George Belotti
RG: Hogan Wharton
RT: Rich Michael
C: Hugh Pitts (also LB)
C: John Simerson (also OT)
G: Jim McCanless
G: Fred Wallner (also LB)
OT: Gary Greaves
TE 1: John Carson
TE 2: John White
TE 3: James Yeats
WR 1: Bill Groman
WR 2: Charlie Hennigan
WR 3: Al Witcher
WR 4: Jack Atchason
WR 5: Ken Hall (also KR)
Long-Snapper: Bobby Gordon
LDE: Dalva Allen
RDE: Don Floyd
LDT: Orville Trask
RDT: Jerry Hellvin
DT: Pete Davidson
DT: George Shirkey
DE: Dan Lanphear
LLB: Doug Cline
RLB: Mike Dukes
MLB: Dennit Morris (also DT)
LB: Phil Perlo
LCBL: Jim Norton
RCB: Mark Johnston
SS: Julian Spence
FS: Bobby Gorden
DB: Tony Banfield
DB: Joe Majors
DB: Charlie Kendall
P: Charlie Milstead

UP NEXT – The 1960 Championship Season, Part 4: The First Season

UP NEXT – The 1960 Championship Season, Part 5: The First Championship Game

Ed Wetterman is a native Houstonian and lifelong Oiler fan/historian. He is a teacher, genealogist, game creator, and writer who lived and died on Sundays with the Oilers. Ed has created many games such as “East Texas University: Degrees of Horror” and written short stories such as “HellFighter,” published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Football has always been one of his greatest passions. He experienced the highs and the lows of being an Oiler fan, and like many others, he was crushed when the Oilers left Houston. Writing for Miss Ya Blue! gives him an outlet for his Columbia Blue love.

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