As third helmets go in this era of chrome, carbon fiber, camouflage, and especially black, white is old school.
Indeed, Washington State's one and only helmet color in the late 1950s and early ‘60s was white. Those helmets, which went away following the 1963 season, featured just a player's crimson-colored number on the sides. The sources didn't know if the Cougs were planning a throwback look with numbers, going with a standard crimson or gray Cougar-head logo or, similar to Texas last season, a combination of both.
Many of WSU's greatest names starred in white helmets, including Clancy Williams, Hugh Campbell, George Reed, Gail Cogdill, Keith Lincoln, Bob Newman and Don Ellingsen.
On the road in those days, the Cougs were in white head to toe. At home, it was crimson jerseys and white pants with the white hat,
Neither source, each of whom requested their names not be used in this story, knew if the white helmet was intended to be worn with particular jersey and pant combos, or if the helmet was intended only for "special" games.
The cost of one new helmet is believed to be in the $300 to $400 range. Multiply that by 105 rostered players, late walk ons and spares, and the collective cost figures to be somewhere between $40,000 and $55,000.
The timing of a third helmet for the Cougars would make sense from a practical standpoint. Storing another 125 on top of the roughly 250 crimsons and grays already in the house requires space, and with the new football operations building the Cougs have plenty.
When WSU introduced two helmet colors in the 2000 season -- crimson on the road, silver at home -- it was considered cutting edge on a national scale. Today, in 2014, adding a third option is barely keeping up with the neighbors. Washington, Oregon State, Oregon and much of the Pac-12 already feature three -- or more -- helmets. Washington, Oregon State and Oregon all have a white option among their collections.
COUGAR ALL-AMERICAN CLANCY WILLIAMS WAS A TWO-WAY STAR ON THE 1963 COUGARS -- THE LAST WASHINGTON STATE TEAM TO WEAR WHITE HELMETS. SILVER HELMETS WITH A COUGAR-HEAD LOGO WERE INTRODUCED IN 1965 AND REMAINED THROUGH 1967. FROM 1968 THROUGH 1975 THE COUGS WORE RED HELMETS, WITH A W-STATE LOGO ON THE SIDE FOR MOST OF THOSE YEARS. SILVER WAS REINSTATED IN 1976 AND REMAINED EITHER THE SOLE OPTION UNTIL 2000, WHEN CRIMSON WAS ADDED TO THE LINE UP. THE SILVER WAS REPLACED BY GRAY IN 2011.