"Dirty Thirty"
1959 ISU Football Team

ISU Football 1959
1st Row: Marcellus, Anderson, Marshall, Fitzgerald, Watkins, Cooper, Esslinter, Burdon.
2nd Row: Celoni Sullivan, Stehbens, Ciszewski, Ferrebee, Spelman, Barr, Graham, Stephens, Webb.
3rd Row: Johnson (manager),McGinty, Sturek, VanDerHeyden, Perez

By the start of the 1959 season, the Iowa State Football Team was down to 30 members from its original 55. Although the team was lacking in number, they more than made up for it in perseverance and "hard-nosed" play. Led by Coach Clay Stapleton, the team had given Iowa State its best season in twenty years, with a record of 7-3.  They tied with Oklahoma for the best record in the Big Eight Conference; they also tied for third place in the Big Eight in conference play.  The team had a good chance that year at going to the Orange Bowl, but a 12-35 defeat from Oklahoma in the last game ended that possibility.

They earned the name, "Dirty Thirty," after handily winning the first game of the season against Drake University.  When the game ended, the team walked into the locker room covered in mud and the team's trainer, Warren Ariail, proclaimed, "Well, here comes the dirty thirty." 

Games Played:

Iowa State 41     Drake  0
Iowa State 28     Denver 12
Iowa State 0       Missouri 14
Iowa State 41     South Dakota 6
Iowa State 27     Colorado 0
Iowa State 26     Kansas State 0
Iowa State 0       Kansas 7
Iowa State 18     Nebraska 6
Iowa State 55     San Jose 0
Iowa State 12     Oklahoma 35

Film that includes footage of the Dirty Thirty on YouTube:

Excerpts 1959, part 2


ISU Football 1959

Dwight Nichols, ISU All American and Team Captain, 1959

ISU Football 1959

"Dirty Thirty" in their new travel blazers, 1959


ISU Football 1959





Homecoming football game against Kansas State, 1959

ISU Football 1959
ISU Football 1959
ISU Football 1959

1959 ISU Football Press Guide

Press Guide, 1959



1959 Program

Program from the ISU-Nebraska Game (.pdf)


ISU Football 1959
"Dirty Thirty" at their 10 year reunion, 1969


Related articles:

Clone Zone Classics: Remembering the "Dirty Thirty"

Emmerson Remembers the Dirty Thirty

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Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library
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