Missouri Valley College Hall of Fame1961 Varsity Football Team
The 1961 Missouri Valley College football team was Coach Volney Ashford’s last undefeated team going 9-0-1 on the season. The only blemish in their record was a 7-7 tie with Southwest Missouri State (Springfield). The Vikings finished the ’61 season as M.C.A.U. Conference Champions and ranked No. 19 in the NAIA. This team was Coach Ashford’s only team to go undefeated and not be invited to a bowl game.
The highlight of the season was a 39-6 victory over William Jewell College. A significant fact about the 1961 season is that Coach Ashford’s staff consisted only of himself and two student assistants—Richard “Duke” Haskell and Chuck Nichols.
Eleven Vikings from the 1961 team were named to the All-Conference team’s that year: Larry Norton; John Sikora; Walt Houseman; Steve Martin; Fred Fugazzi; John Ibarra; Harry Bradley; Frank Loeffler; Mickey McLellan; Jay Heil; and Chuck Stephens. Seven members of the 1961 team have been inducted to the Missouri Valley College Athletic Hall of Fame: Ron Porter; Wayne Howell; Chuck Stephens; Fred Fugazzi; Dwain Hall; Joe Avena; and Mickey McLellan.
The 2011 season marks the 50th anniversary of Coach Ashford’s last undefeated team, the 1961 Missouri Valley Viking football squad.