Orange Shoes Vs. NC State In 1960’s
(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)
Today’s photo is from a big day in Clemson football history. Most Clemson fans know about the history and lore of the orange pants, which started in 1980. But the first mystical change in football attire came 13 years earlier when Clemson put on orange shoes vs. NC State. Here’s the story, as best as I can remember it.
In the 1960’s, every team wore black shoes when playing football. NC State's Bill Morrow found out that a member of the Kansas City Chiefs was wearing white shoes so he figured he would too. Morrow had a huge year in 1966 wearing the white shoes, including an intercepted pass for a touchdown that marked the first TD in the new Carter Finley Stadium.
So, in 1967, one NC State player wanted to follow Morrow’s lead and make a fashion statement by wearing white shoes. Linebacker Chuck Amato (yes, that Chuck Amato) wore white shoes during the 1967 season and began spreading the look to the rest of the Wolfpack defense.
The magic of the white shoes worked for the Wolfpack as they started the 1967 season 8-0 and it appeared NC State was going to the Sugar Bowl on New Years Day. There was only two teams standing in the way of NC State, one was Penn State and the other was Clemson. The Wolfpack had to at least win one of the last two to go the Sugar Bowl. Penn State did their part by handing NC State a loss.
On November 18, 1967 the 10th rank Wolfpack came to Death Valley to play the 4-4 Clemson Tigers with the Sugar Bowl on the line for NC State. Clemson, motivated to knock the Wolfpack out of the Sugar Bowl, painted their shoes orange prior to the game with the Wolfpack. Students were encouraged to come onto the field to create a tunnel for the Tigers to come down the hill, causing electricity to run through the fired up crowd as they saw the Tigers in the orange shoes.
It was a very windy day in Death Valley and the Wolfpack used that wind to kick two long field goals early to take a 6-0 lead. But Clemson, led by Buddy Gore, stormed back for two touchdowns to defeat Amato and the Wolfpack 14-6 and knock them out of the Sugar Bowl.
In fact, Gore caught the only pass of his career at Clemson late in the game to gain a first down and seal the win. Gore is #44 in the picture.
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