Tuesdays with Tony: Col. Lackey Revisits an Historic 1960 Contest Against Florida State

The game program cover from first and only Citadel home game against Florida State on Oct. 8, 1960.

The game program cover from the first (and only) Citadel home game against Florida State on Oct. 8, 1960.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Col. Tony Lackey ’61 has been around Citadel Athletics since the mid-1950s and provides a weekly blog on some of the sports highlights that he recalls.

By Col. Tony Lackey ‘61

As told to Andy Solomon

In recent years, the Department of Athletics rightfully celebrated the accomplishments of The Citadel’s 1960 Tangerine Bowl and ’61 Southern Conference championship football teams.  One game that I recall vividly came during that memorable ’60 season and it wasn’t a victory or a defeat: It was the lone tie during those two memorable seasons.

On October 8, 1960, Florida State returned a game and came to Johnson Hagood Stadium for their only visit ever.  They had thrashed us, 47-6, the previous year in Tallahassee and they figured they would do the same to us in Charleston.

Florida State's home game program cover from 1959 against The Citadel.

Florida State’s home game program cover from 1959 against The Citadel.

FSU brought their student mascot, Chief Osceola and his white horse to the game and they pranced on the field pregame.  Florida State was a terrific team that was one of the first to use the I-formation and their coach, Bill Peterson, wasn’t necessarily friends with our coach, Eddie Teague.

Prior the game, Coach Peterson made a comment about our uniforms as they had a stripe over the shoulder pad instead of on the sleeve.  He added that the lights at Johnson Hagood Stadium were poor and that the footballs, of all things, weren’t appropriate because they had a white stripe near both ends.

Coach Peterson complained to the referees that his players couldn’t see the ball because of the poor lighting, the uniforms were distracting and the ball had stripes.  I remember that Coach Teague said the game could be played with FSU’s footballs.  He didn’t care.

Remember now, that our team was pretty darn good at that time.  We certainly weren’t “chopped liver.”

But I need to back up for a moment.

The week prior, the local newspaper gave us some bad PR because of the traffic issues surrounding Johnson Hagood Stadium.  Where the Holliday Alumni Center stands now was nothing more than a mud pit, and where Stoney Field and Riley Park are now were the city’s garbage dump.  Indeed, traffic was tough and parking was difficult.

Because of that, Gen. Mark Clark, our president, ordered the Corps of Cadets NOT to march to the stadium in fear of causing more traffic headaches on Hagood Avenue.  I was a senior then and was the R Company first sergeant.

The Corps decided on its own to march to the game.  The Regimental Band did not accompany us, per the General’s orders but when we got to the stadium, we stopped the marching as Gen. Clark was watching.  We filed into our seats and I recall that the game was a cold, crisp night as we were wearing our wools.

Now back to the game.

It was another of those back-and-forth games in which both defenses dominated play as neither team scored.  Right at the end of the game, we had a 4th down and I don’t recall the distance, but we lined up for a game-winning field goal.  We had confidence since our kicker was Bill “Toe” Gilgo, who later was rightfully enshrined in our Hall of Fame.

Quarterback Jerry Nettles, another Hall of Famer, was usually our holder but for some reason, Coach Teague sent in someone else to hold.  This freshman quarterback bobbled the snap and poor “Toe” couldn’t get a good kick and both teams had to settle for a 0-0 tie.

Tangerin Bowl Champions

We had a great crowd for that game, one that we could have won, and I’ll always remember the enthusiasm of the Corps.  From the traffic issues, to not marching over and not daring to defy Gen. Clark to one of the best games in Citadel history, this was truly one to remember.

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