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Thread: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

  1. #76
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    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Friday March 24, 1961

    “Wranglers sign Lowe and Keyes” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Associate General Manager John Harland released a statement Thursday afternoon detailing the addition of two players for foreseeable future. The Wranglers signed running back Paul Lowe to a six year extension keeping him in Wranglers colors through the 1966 season. Lowe, who bulldozed his way for 1,027 yards in 14 starts last season, looks to be in fantastic shape and is eager for the start of training at the end of July. Lowe had 15 total touchdowns last season and will make an excellent counterpart to the tough running rookie fullback Keith Lincoln. Joining Lowe, Lincoln, and Kentucky rookie Calvin Bird in the backfield is former University of San Diego speedster Bob Keyes. Keyes made four appearances with the Oakland Raiders last season and looks to challenge for a special teams spot. Keyes was a junior college All American at Antelope Valley Junior College before enrolling at USD.

    Friday March 31, 1961 – St. Louis Globe-Democrat (portion posted article actual newspaper clip from The St. Louis Globe-Democrat March 31, 1961 page 2C)

    “ABC Will Again Telecast All AFL Games This Fall” – NEW YORK (AP) American Football League games will be telecast exclusively again this year by the American Broadcasting Company’s TV network. The renewal was announced jointly Thursday by Thomas W. Moore, ABC vice president of television programming, in New York, and AFL Commissioner Joe Foss in Dallas. Under the contract, ABC will telecast the games on 15 Sundays, starting Sept. 10, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, and the championship playoff game on a date to be set. Following the pattern of their first contract last year, two games will be telecast each Sunday-one in the east and one in the west. There will only be one game telecast on Thanksgiving Day. Last year the network paid the league $2,125,000 for the rights, and the receipts were shared equally by the eight clubs. Terms were not disclosed for this year’s renewal, but it was believed to call for a 10 percent increase. This would bring the total of $2,337,500. Each club would receive $292,188 under the League’s equal share policy. The eight clubs are: East – Houston Oilers, Divisional and League Champions; New York Jets; Boston Patriots; and the Buffalo Bills. West – Kansas City Chiefs, last year’s Western Division Champions; Arizona Wranglers, who operated in Los Angeles last year; Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos.

  2. #77
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    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Wednesday April 12, 1961

    “Allen signs – final piece of puzzle laid down” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Washington Huskies all star gridders talent, Chuck Allen, inked himself into the pages of Wranglers history yesterday afternoon. Allen signed a three year deal with the Phoenix based ball club. Mr. Allen was an all conference and all-coast offensive guard for the Huskies. He was also a force at inside linebacker for the ’59 and ‘60 Rose Bowl champions. “He played with fierce determination at the inside linebacker position as well as playing offensive guard,” commented associate GM John Harland Tuesday evening. Gilman, who was also in attendance, noted that….”Allen is one of our more strategic draft moves.” When asked where the Huskies star collegiate player will land on the field, Harland responded, “Butler and Champion are eager to see him compete for a starting job on the defensive side of the ball.” In addition to the signing of Allen, the Wranglers added another fullback to its roster. Walter Kelly, who played football at Tulane during his college years, is coming off a two year enlistment with the United States Marine Corps. At 6’2” 210 pounds, the ‘rookie’ fullback is a bruising blocker and looks to compete with Rookies Keith Lincoln and Bob Brooks for playing time at the that position. The Wranglers now have a total roster count of 52 players and are patiently waiting for the start of training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona. University officials at Arizona State College at Flagstaff have granted permission to the Arizona Wranglers to use its athletic facilities for the ’61 Wranglers pre-season practice which begins July 25th.

    WRANGLERS OFFENSE
    COACHES: Wayne Robinson (Offensive Coordinator); Bob Williams (QBs); Buddy Young (Offensive Backs); Joe Madro (OL); Dan Garza (WR/TE)
    Quarterbacks: Jack Kemp, Hunter Enis
    Offensive Backs: Paul Lowe, Bob Keyes, Calvin Bird, Keith Lincoln, Bob Brooks, Walter Kelly
    Offensive Ends: Don Norton; Dave Kocourek, Bo Roberson, Bob Scarpitto, Luther Hayes
    Howard Clark, Jacque Mackinnon, Kyle Brandon
    Offensive Line: Ernie Wright, Ron Mix, Sam Deluca, Gene Selawski, Sherman Plunkett, Billy Wilson, Orlando Ferrante, Ernie Barnes, Willie Hector, Don Rogers, George Belotti

    WRANGLERS DEFENSE
    COACHES: Frank Butler (Defensive Coordinator); Thurman McGraw (DL); Jim Champion (LBs); Jack Faulkner (DBs)
    Defensive Line: Ron Nery, Bill Hudson, Ernie Ladd, Earl Faison, Maury Schleicher, Jeff Lakin, Henry Schmidt, Jay Riser
    Linebackers: Chuck Allen, Emil Karas, Jerry Fields, Bob Laraba, Jackie Simpson, Mike Halkett
    Defensive Backs: Dick Harris, Claude Gibson, Charlie McNeil, Bob Zeman, George Blair, Neil Hickford, Aaron Willis, Bud Whitehead

    SPECIAL TEAMs
    COACH: Harvey Johnson (Special Teams Coordinator)
    Kickers: Greg Ellsworth
    Punters: Hunter Smith, Kevin Sherman
    Last edited by CATLEW2002; 02-18-2021 at 12:33 AM.

  3. #78
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    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Tuesday May 2, 1961 – The Times Record (portion posted article actual newspaper clip from The Times Record, Troy, New York May 2, 1961 page 16)

    “Patriots, Jets will open AFL Campaign” – Tucson, AZ (AP) The 1961 American Football League schedule, released yesterday by Commissioner Joe Foss, has the Boston Patriots and New York Jets opening the season Sept. 9 at Boston. The same night Oakland’s Raiders play at Houston against the Oilers, but the time zone differential makes Boston the ’61 starting point. Other openers have Denver at Buffalo Sunday Sept 10, and the Arizona Wranglers at Kansas City the same day. The teams again play a double round-robin schedule each team playing the other twice on a home-and-home basis. Each team has one idle weekend.

    “Wranglers Schedule released” – Bobby Hebert, Arizona Daily Star

    The Arizona Wranglers are set to play 7 home games at Sun Devil Stadium this fall. The team will start the ’61 campaign on the road in Kansas City. Below is the rest of the 1961 schedule for the Phoenix based AFL ball club. Season tickets and single game tickets are on sale now.

    Sunday Sept 10 – Arizona @ Kansas City
    Sunday Sept 17 – Oakland @ Arizona
    Sunday Sept 24 – Houston @ Arizona
    Saturday Sept 30 – Arizona @ Buffalo
    Saturday Oct 7 – Arizona @ Boston
    Sunday Oct 15 – Arizona @ New York
    Sunday Oct 22 – Arizona @ Oakland
    Sunday Oct 29 – Denver @ Arizona
    Sunday November 5 – New York @ Arizona
    Sunday November 12 – Arizona @ Denver
    Sunday November 19 – Kansas City @ Arizona
    Sunday December 3 – Arizona @ Houston
    Sunday December 10 – Buffalo @ Arizona
    Sunday December 17 – Boston @ Arizona

  4. #79
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    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Wednesday May 3, 1961 – “Construction Begins in Glendale” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    After numerous setbacks involving zoning and city permits, Wranglers principle owner Edward Wright announced Tuesday night that construction will begin. “We will break ground tomorrow afternoon.” Wright Brothers Construction will begin phase one on Wednesday. The limited delay will push the stadium build a few months past the August 1962 deadline. “We are already in contact with Arizona State University officials about extending our contract through the 1962 season,” continued Mr. Wright. In addition, He also noted that ticket sales are doing very well…”We’ve already received over 10,000 reservations for season tickets.” This is in line with Commissioner Joe Foss’ financial report. Mr. Foss noted from Boston, during a recent visit, that ticket sales were running fifty percent ahead of last year without a formal campaign begin launched. The 10 percent increase in television was another item which is going to help the new league Foss believed. Finally, Mr. Wright mentioned that he is very excited for his first official owners meeting set to take place in Buffalo, New York, June 22-23, “I am looking forward to updating the progress of our Arizona venture. I am determined to make our organization succeed here in Phoenix and make it known that is was the right relocation choice. San Diego will get its ball club soon enough……”

    Friday May 12, 1961

    “Gilman heading back to Los Angeles” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    In a surprising turn of events Wranglers lead man, Sid Gilman, has departed for greener pastures. “Gilman has been offered and accepted a coaching position with the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League,” stated Public Relations Director Tom Daily. “He will assume the duties of Head Coach replacing Jimmy David, who was fired last week after a dismal 4-8 1960 gridiron campaign.” Due to the abrupt shifting of the guard Wranglers owner Ed Wright, who was not immediately available for comment, instructed Mr. Daily to meet with press and deliver the news. When asked who would fill the coaching vacancy, he pointed out that Offensive Coordinator Wayne Robinson will take over head coaching duties for the ‘61 season. Robinson spent the last two years north of the border coaching the British Columbia Lions of the WIFU. There he compiled a 14-16-2 record. Gilman’s departure also forced a move within the Wranglers front office as John Harland was immediately promoted to General Manager effective May 12. Joining Robinson and Harland with a new organizational title is Quarterbacks Coach Bob Williams. He will now assume the role as Offensive Coordinator. Williams’ career in the NFL spanned 9 years, 2 with the San Diego Chargers and 7 with Baltimore. He threw for 7,185 yards and 52 touchdowns. His best season at the helm came in 1951 when he threw for 2,066 yards and 9 touchdowns. Bob began his coaching career in 1960 with the then Los Angeles Chargers. “Now the only left is the need for a new Quarterbacks Coach……some names have been tossed around but nothing has been decided upon yet,” mentioned Wayne Robinson, who made an appearance near the end of the press conference. “I am honored to step in and take over duties as they are assigned. We wish Sid all the best with his new venture in back in Los Angeles. I am looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish here in Arizona and try to improve upon last year’s 8-6 finish. I have some big shoes to fill but am confident I can get the job done.”

  5. #80
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    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Tuesday May 23, 1961

    “Wranglers add two from BIG 10” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Wranglers lead man Wayne Robinson revealed on Monday that Neenah, Wisconsin native Tom ‘Big Dog’ Wiesner has signed a one year contract with the team. Wiesner lettered three years at the University of Wisconsin, was a co-captain, and the most valuable player of 1960. Robinson mentioned that the versatile player, who played fullback and linebacker, would join the team in July and his roll with the organization has yet to be determined. The second roster addition is Fighting Illini gridder Cliff Roberts. Roberts, a 260 pound offensive tackle, was named to the All-Big Ten team and an honorable mention All-American with the University of Illinois. “He will compete for a position our line….whether it is guard or tackle remains to be seen. He will give us some depth at both positions,” stated a pleased Coach Robinson. Roughly four hours after the introduction of the new roster additions, GM John Harland instructed Public Relations Director, Tom Daily, to put together a press release concerning a Wranglers staffing addition. The communication detailed the hiring of a new quarterbacks coach. Retired National Football League signal caller, Bob Waterfield has accepted a position with organization. Waterfield’s career spanned 15 years, all with the Cleveland/Los Angeles Rams, which produced 12,687 yards passing and 104 touchdowns. He started 53 games with the Rams and appeared in 5 championship games throughout a decade and a half of service. Waterfield’s best season came in 1949 when tossed the pigskin for 2,168 yards and 17 touchdowns.


    Saturday May 27, 1961

    “Wranglers add quarterback, defensive end to roster” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    In a brief communication with The Arizona Republic, the Wranglers front office announced the addition of third quarterback to the roster. The new signal caller, Robert Lee Duty, is expected to challenge Hunter Enis for a backup role to incumbent starter Jack Kemp. Duty played his collegiate ball at North Texas. Joining Robert Lee as a new member of the AFL organization is Youngstown State end Larry Jordan. At 6’6” 230 lbs Jordan was a force on the Penguins defensive line. The two additions set the Wranglers roster count at 56 heading in the month of June. General Manager John Harland also noted that all coaching and front office positions have been set for the upcoming gridiron season. He is extremely confident there will be no more changes.

    1961: Arizona Wranglers owners/Front Office/Coaching Positions
    OWNER: Edward Wright (The Wright Association)
    Chairman of the Board : Edward Wright
    Vice Chairman of the Board: James Wright

    FOOTBALL OPERATIONS/FRONT OFFICE
    General Manager: John Harland
    President of Football Operations: Edwin Wright
    Director of Player Personnel: Larry Wright
    Chief Operations Officer: Thomas Schrader
    Public Relations Director: Thomas 'Tom' Daily

    SCOUTING
    Director of Scouting: Malcolm McKenzie
    Assistant Director-Pro Scouting: Gene Roberts
    Assistant Director-College Scouting: John Green

    COACHING STAFF
    Head Coach: Wayne Robinson
    Associate Head Coach/Quarterbacks: Bob Waterfield
    Offensive Coordinator: Bob Williams
    Offensive Backs Coach (RB/FB): Buddy Young
    Offensive Line Coach: Joe Madro
    WR/TE Coach: Dan Garza
    Defensive Coordinator: Frank Butler
    Defensive Line Coach: Thurman McGraw
    Linebackers Coach: Jim Champion
    Defensive Backs Coach: Jack Faulkner
    Special Teams Coordinator: Harvey Johnson

    Medical Staff
    Team Physician: Dr. Harold Warrenton Jr.

  6. #81
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    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    American Football League Report – June 1961

    Friday June 16, 1961 – Alabama Tribune (portion posted article actual newspaper clip from Alabama Tribune, Montgomery, Alabama June 16, 1961 page 7)

    “American Football League to Meet In Buffalo, June 22-23” – Buffalo, N.Y (UPI) Commissioner Joe Foss and American Football League owners will hold an executive committee meeting here June 22-23 in conjunction with the first All-American Graduation Bowl game to be played in War Memorial Stadium. It will mark the first top-level conference in Buffalo since the nation’s second professional football loop was found in the fall of 1959. Ralph C. Wilson Jr., Detroit trucking magnate who owns the Buffalo Bills will be the host to the AFL Brass during the two day meeting climaxed by the All-American bowl contest on Friday night, June 23. The event, destined to become an annual summer sports spectacular here, features ranking collegians from the eastern and western parts of American. The AFL officials plan to discuss suggested rule changes and a possible revision in the sudden death set up the championship playoffs.

    Friday June 23, 1961 – The Daily Chronicle (portion posted article actual newspaper clip from The Daily Chronicle, Centralia, Washington June 23, 1961 Page 4)

    “AFL Hear Report on Draft Proposal” – Buffalo, N.Y.(UPI) The executive committee of the American Football League heard an encouraging version of the draft battle with the National League on Thursday from Commissioner Joe Foss.

    Sunday June 25, 1961 – The Yuma Daily Sun (portion posted article actual newspaper clip from The Yuma Daily Sun, Yuma, Arizona June 25 1961 page 11)

    “Suit against Rival NFL” – Buffalo, N.Y. (UPI) The American Football League has no intention of dropping its $10.3 million anti-trust lawsuit against the rival National Football League, according to Commissioner Joe Foss. Foss, bristling at reports that he has sought to reach a settlement with NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, told AFL club owners at the windup of their League meeting on Friday that “we are pressing ahead” and the suit is scheduled for a hearing on January 8.

  7. #82
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    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    1961 Arizona Wranglers training camp preview – July 10, 1961

    The Arizona Wranglers officially open training camp on July 25 at Arizona State College at Flagstaff. However, Coaches, quarterbacks and offensive ends are schedule to arrive a week early July 18. Wranglers lead man Wayne Robinson said this year’s camp will be unique for the simple fact these player will be training at 6,909’ above sea level as opposed to last year’s location at Chapman College, which is only 190’ above sea level. “It will be a test,” mentioned Robinson when the press caught up with him. “Keep in mind we have 34 rookies reporting to camp this year and most our veterans have only played one or two years….welcome to the AFL,” he continued with a smile. Robinson also noted that he is particularly excited about two rookies, Washington State alumni Keith Lincoln and Grambling State Tigers monster defensive standout Ernie Ladd. “Both these gentleman have high expectations and may battle for AFL rookie of the year honors,” added Robinson. Coach Robinson said he expects the organization to ink some more pacts, as they are sometimes referred to as, before the start of camp. He figures roughly 64 to 66 players will arrive in Flagstaff to battle for roster spots. The Wrangler pre-season schedule has also finally been set. Robinson said his team would have three home games before training camp wraps up on September 5.

    Sunday August 6 at Sun Devil Stadium against the Houston Oilers
    Friday August 18 at Honolulu Stadium against the Houston Oilers
    Sunday August 27 at Sun Devil Stadium against the Oakland Raiders
    Sunday September 3 at Sun Devil Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs

    Wednesday July 26, 1961

    “Wranglers Open Grid Drills at Flagstaff” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    The Arizona Wranglers, who finished second in the Western Division – one game shy of the title in 1960, officially opened training in Flagstaff, Arizona yesterday. “A new home town…with new fans eager to cheer us on to the American League Championship is pretty exciting,” commented Head Coach Wayne Robinson Tuesday night from Flagstaff. “The facilities here are fantastic. Our staff and some of our players have already been here a week. The local hospitality has been wonderful.” Coach Robinson then delivered some tough talk for the 66 players that have arrived hopeful to secure a roster spot, “We except to start cutting in the first two or three days of drills.” He also noted that for the first portion of camp they will be running double drill sessions through Friday evening. “We have roughly 45 first timers in camp and only 21 veterans. That’s going to going to make it tough to secure the 43 available spots by September 5.” Coach Robinson is referring to the successful petition made by principle owner Edward Wright to the AFL back on June 22 to increase last year’s roster limit from 33 players to 43. The league voted 6-2 to approve the measure. The limit does not include the number of player that can be retained on the practice squad. Coach Robinson also mentioned that rookies Tom Wiesner, a running back, and Jim Fraser, a linebacker, both from the University of Wisconsin, and Bob Keyes, a back from University of San Diego, showed promise during the first day on the turf. Day one, however, was not without its downside as rookie guard Dan Ficca left camp Tuesday evening without giving a reason. “And Just like that…our first day and we are down to sixty-five hopefuls.” In other news, Public Relations Director Tom Daily announced that the Wranglers will be holding a ‘meet and greet’ event on Saturday outside Lumberjack Stadium. Veterans Jack Kemp, Paul Lowe and Ron Nery will be available for autographs and will be giving out free bottles of Coca-Cola from 1pm to 7pm Saturday afternoon- evening.
    Last edited by CATLEW2002; Yesterday at 01:12 AM.

  8. #83
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    Re: 1951 "An Experiment in Expansion"

    Wednesday August 2, 1961

    “Wranglers hold will full scrimmage this week” – Billy Mitchell, The Arizona Republic

    Coach Robinson and his Arizona Wranglers will hold their first full scrimmage of the week on Thursday in preparations for the match up against the Houston Oilers this weekend. The scrimmage will take place at Lumberjack stadium. The club held goal line scrimmages yesterday as warm up for Thursday’s big affair. Robinson pointed out that end Dave Kocourek and tackle Ron Mix have been having a great week of practice. The front office also announced the departure of rookie end Charlie Dumas. Dumas a University of Southern California track star was the first man to clear 7’ in the high jump doing so on June 29, 1956. Joining Dumas in the AFL unemployment line are veteran gridders Royce Womble and Art Gob. Womble, who hauled in 27 receptions for 301 yards and 2 touchdowns last season, played six years with the Baltimore Colts from 1954 to 1959 before arriving in Los Angeles. Womble has carried the ball 119 times for 381 yards and been on the receiving end of 93 receptions for 902 yards during his 7 year career. Defensive end Art Gob played in 5 games with the Washington Federals in 1959 and saw limited action with the team in 1960 before arriving in Arizona. Other notable cuts include offense end Hilliard Hill, guard Phil Debosky and linebacker Bruce Hake. The remaining 59 man squad concentrated on goal line offense, running in the morning and passing in the afternoon.

    Wranglers training camp practice report, Friday August 4, 1961 – Bobby Herbert, Arizona Daily Star

    The Arizona Wranglers finished up an intense week of practice under the watchful eyes of ‘Lead Wrangler’ Wayne Robinson. His crew completed double drill sessions Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as scrimmages Tuesday and Thursday. This is all in preparation for their first preseason match up this weekend. The Wranglers will meet the Houston Oilers at Sun Devil Stadium on Sunday. Kickoff has been set at 1 PM; a crowd of 12,000 is expected to turn out for the 1961 pre-season opener. Two of last year’s top AFL’s performers will not suit up for the matchup. Starting signal caller Jack Kemp and bruising running back Paul Lowe will attend as sideline spectators. Both are nursing some minor bumps and bruises. Joining them on the sidelines are Howard Clark, who is still recovering from an off season knee operation, Don Norton and Willie Hector. Both have been down with the flu.

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