1969 - the year Miami's own Steve Owens won the Heisman Trophy, the United States put the first man on the moon, Bobby Kennedy visits the Seneca Indian School at Wyandotte just months before his murder, the Miracle Mets - and Northeastern A&M College captures its second national football championship in three years.
Several members of that team along with coach Chuck Bowman and some of his staff return to Robertson Field Saturday for a special reunion during the 2 p.m. NEO-Cisco game.
The players will join several players from the 1967 team to commemorate their achievements.
Following a year in 1968 where the Golden Norse would finish with a 6-4 record, that team laid the ground work for what would become the first team in NEO history to finish with a perfect 10-0 record while winning the school's fifth national championship.
While averaging 33.7 points per game on offense, the Golden Norse defense set a school record which still stands today by limiting the opposition to a mere 5.4 points per game.
Ironically, three Iowa junior colleges would play a part in that magical season as the Norsemen defeated Centerville, Iowa, 16-13 to start the year.
Squaring off against the Ellsworth Panthers in the second game, NEO escaped with a 6-0 victory to start a string of four consecutive shutouts.
After posting a 47-0 drubbing of Grand Rapids, Mich., the Golden Norsemen rolled to a 28-0 shutout over Trinidad, Colo., before crushing Chicago (Ill.) Kennedy-King by a 60-0 score.
The Golden Norse defeated Ferrum, Va., 58-10, before knocking off the University of Tulsa freshmen by a 41-2 margin.
Following a 35-10 win over Iowa Central Community College, the Norsemen concluded the regular season with a 26-13 victory over McCook, Neb.
Invited for a return trip to the Alee Shrine Bowl in Savannah, Ga., on Nov. 29, 1969, the Golden Norsemen boarded a twin engine plane in Joplin and made the flight to the east coast while three bus loads of 37 Norse Stars, 35 cheerleaders and Golden Norse band members and 45 fans made the two-day trip.
Because Dr. Bruce G. Carter had already announced his retirement as president, he and his wife and son rode on one of the buses. He even helped unload the bus at each stop.
"On the way back, the old army bus threw a rod in Tupelo, Miss., and we had to leave it there," recalled Dr. Charles Angle, former vice president for academic affairs at NEO and a passenger on the bus. "The funny thing was that Dr. (D.D.) Creech became NEO president on Jan. 1, 1970, and one day, six weeks after the bowl game, he got a phone call from Tupelo wanting to know when we were going to come and get our bus.
"Ferris Luttrell, head of maintenance thought I had told Dr. Creech about the bus and I thought he had," Dr. Angle said. "So, we had to send someone to Tupelo to tow that bus back to Miami."
Appearing on national television, the Golden Norsemen fell behind 6-0 before erupting for three consecutive touchdowns en route to a 21-6 victory over Arizona Western Junior College.
Dr. Carter called the team "the greatest NEO A&M team I have seen in my 26 years with the college."
"I never dreamed we would be in the game as long as we were," Bowman said. "We got some outstanding performances from freshman monster back Bobby Werner and sophomore linebacker Marc Driscoll. Our defense really played well the second half to hold them scoreless."
Driscoll (6-0, 191 of Ponca City) was named Outstanding Defensive Player of the game after making nine unassisted tackles, eight assists and three quarterback sacks for minus-24 yards.
Arizona Western took the opening kickoff and drove 68 yards in five plays for their only score of the game. Clinton (Sugar Bear) Hinton, who would go on to star as a tailback at the University of Southern California, slashed through the right side of the Norse defense and raced 57 yards for a touchdown. The score came only 1:57 into the start of the game.
"We had gone to Yuma, Ariz., and scouted them two weeks before," Bowman said. "They were a happy-go-lucky, loose-as-a-goose undisciplined team. I told our coaches at the time 'this bunch may be great as far as athletes go, but they are not a physical team.'"
Freshman defensive tackle Jim Butler recovered a fumble at the Matador 9-yard line to give the Golden Norsemen their first scoring opportunity. Butler hit Matador quarterback Bob Gudianas forcing the ball loose and recovering the fumble.
Three plays later, Golden Norse fullback Reggie Harrison (who went on to play for the Pittsburg Steelers in the Super Bowl) went over left guard from a yard out to tie the score. Bob Smith (who went on to work for NFL Films) kicked the extra point to give NEO the lead for good.
Werner stepped in front of a Gudianas pass on Arizona Western's next possession and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. The extra point by Smith with 12:32 before halftime gave the Norsemen a 14-6 cushion.
Sophomore defensive back Bobby Taylor (5-10, 160 of Tulsa) set up NEO's final scoring opportunity with the first of his three interceptions on a rainy night at the Arizona Western 40 yard line.
Runs by Harrison and freshman tailback Kenny Garrett chewed up 21 yards to the Matadors 19-yard line.
Sophomore quarterback Steve Watson (5-11, 161 of Bristow) found wide receiver Jon Harrison (5-10, 146 of Abilene, Texas) for a 17-yard pass play. Harrison (who went on to be an All-American at the University of Oklahoma) plunged to the 1-yard line.
Watson ended the drive by circling right end for a touchdown. Smith added the extra point with just 38 seconds left until halftime as NEO built a 21-6 lead.
During the second half, penalties and miscues kept both teams from reaching the endzone.
Along with the three interceptions by Taylor, the Golden Norse received two picks from sophomore safety Ralph McGill (5-11, 170 of Sebring, Fla.) - who went on to play nine years for the San Francisco 49'ers - and one from sophomore defensive tackle Ed Kilpatrick (6-1, 217 of Cincinnati, Ohio). The six NEO interceptions tied the Shrine Bowl record set in 1965 by Ferrum versus McCook, Neb.
Hinton was the games leading rusher with 97 yards on 24 carries for the Matadors.
Garrett led the Golden Norse ground game with 75 yards on 17 carries while Watson completed 8 of 21 passes for 114 yards.
"We weren't the caliber man-for-man that the Arizona Western team was," Bowman said. "But our kids came in there knowing that they had won it two years before and they wanted to win it again. It was just the thing that we had been there once and the tradition of NEO that does that."