By DAVE HERSAM
After weeks of secrecy, speculation and “leaks” — some more accurate than others — the new array of BYU logos and uniforms was officially released Aug. 16 at an invitation-only press conference at Cougar stadium.
The new logos and uniforms feature a darker shade of blue, a more feisty cougar, mountains in many of the logos and the introduction of tan as an accent color.
The announcement and presentation were made by President Merrill J. Bateman and men’s and women’s athletic directors Val Hale and Elaine Michaelis. Emceeing the runway fashion show was BYU alumna and current KUTV Channel 2 news anchor Michelle King.
Pres. Bateman said that when he travelled with the team to Alabama last season, he was impressed by the sea of red in the stands. He said he hopes the change in colors will result in a sea of the new Cougar blue this season for what he called the best BYU home schedule in school history.
“We’re excited to introduce our new look,” Pres. Bateman said. “We feel it does a nice job of communicating who we are, and will represent the university well.”
Hale said the darker shade of blue — navy blue for all intents and purposes, but what Pres. Bateman said is officially code 287, the darkest shade of royal blue they could find — has received approval from coaches, administrators and fans.
A video montage shown before the unveiling portrayed the BYU colors through the years, matched to music of each period. As Billy Joel sang, “What’s the matter with the clothes I’m wearing?” the camera panned up the light-blue pants of a scowling LaVell Edwards. Retailers told Hale that the only color that sold worse than BYU’s previous shade of light royal blue was red.
Hale said the new logos and colors, also called a “new identity system,” should provide consistency to BYU’s image. Previously, when outside organizations asked for the BYU logo, they were sent three separate sheets of various logos and told to take their pick.
The new football uniforms were modeled by players Rob Morris, Kevin Feterik, Margin Hooks and Byron Frisch. At home games, the Cougars will wear blue pants and jerseys, with a white field or “bib” on the front, featuring blue numbers outlined in tan. The back has white tan-outlined numbers. On the road, BYU’s uniforms will be white with blue numbers outlined in tan.
Edwards started off the uniform modeling by strutting the catwalk in the coaches’ sideline wear, flanked by two cheerleaders and grinning in response to the cheers.
“That was not my idea,” he later said of his Tyra Banks imitation.
Edwards said the white road uniforms would have also featured a blue bib on the front, in which the numbers would be white, but the NCAA has rules about how much color can be on white road unis. Pending NCAA approval, the blue bib may appear on the uniforms some time in the future.
Edwards and his players, shown the new look Sunday night, said they were pleased with the new uniforms.
“It will take some time to get used to,” Edwards said. “The players were excited about the change, and I think the uniforms will look even better outside on the field, in natural light.”
Morris, a k a “The Freight Train” said any change is good, and Feterik agreed.
“Imagine, change in Provo,” he quipped.
Morris said his favorite part of the new look is the dark helmets.
“I hate white helmets,” he said. “It’s good to have a nice, dark helmet.”
Hooks said he too liked the dark helmets, but for a very specific, personal reason.
“It matches my skin complexion,” he said.
Women’s Athletic Director Elaine Michaelis said the new BYU look will represent the university well into the 21st century.
“As we begin this sports season and compete in a new conference, a unified identity is being unveiled,” Pres. Bateman in a press release. “It’s a new, fresh package that energizes our teams and communicates well what BYU is all about.”
All BYU sports will feature the new logo and colors, and women’s volleyball, soccer and softball uniforms were also modeled by athletes at the press conference/fashion show, along with men’s baseball unis and a wide variety of fan merchandise from such designers as Lands’ End and Tommy Hilfiger. The fan fashions were available in the BYU Bookstore immediately after the press conference, and are also available at J.C. Penney’s, Target, Wal-Mart and FANZ stores.
For a university press release on the subject and a retrospective look at BYU’s uniforms throughout the years, check out the new-look official BYU sports Web site at http://byucougars.com.