In front of a decent-sized crowd in the Balch Fieldhouse, the University of Colorado signaled their official entrance into the modern era of collegiate football. As production on the new Champions Center enters its final stages, head coach Mike MacIntyre and 850 KOA host Mark Johnson welcomed in the 2015-2016 season early with the release of CU’s newest stampede of uniforms. For the first time in five years, Colorado had a new look.
“I didn’t sleep well this week, to be honest,” said J.T. Galloway, CU’s director of equipment operations. Throughout the week, Galloway allowed small teases to be shown before the unveiling, but nothing aside from grainy cc camera footage made it to the eyes of the media or general public. The players got their first sight of it on Wednesday, when the official photoshoot began.
“[There was] definitely an itch to see them,” starting quarterback Sefo Liufau admitted after the unveiling. “But he (J.T.) did a great job of keeping it under wraps and not showing anybody.”
The idea to update the Buffaloes look started a few years ago when Coach MacIntyre was first hired. Galloway says that he and the head coach talked about all things equipment and eventually the conversation moved towards the last time the look had been updated. Since 2000, the uniform has changed four times: In 2003, gold pants were reintroduced to the scheme, while whites disappeared in 2005. The major overhaul, in 2007, received mixed-to-negative reviews, and in 2010, the uniforms reverted back to the old scheme of the late 1980’s. MacIntyre and Galloway didn’t want to stray too far from a proven good with the update.
“What we did is we went back and looked through the history of all the Colorado uniforms,” said MacIntyre. “That’s what we tried to do with the horns [on the jersey] and the mountains [stitched into the numbers].”
In a world where companies such as Nike and Under Armour are constantly looking for more progressive (and sometimes outlandish) uniform combinations, Galloway and company made sure that the look and feel of the new uniforms never strayed away from the original Colorado scheme. MacIntyre revealed that CU and Nike had gone through about “four or five” iterations of the uniform before deciding on the current four that were revealed on Friday.
“There were a couple that were a little, maybe, out there for us,” Galloway said with a smile. But when asked if he could provide any information on what those potential uniforms looked like, the director simply stated, “that art has been shredded and has been disposed of in the middle of the ocean.”
What was shown in Balch was a collective effort between CU and Nike, who have worked together since 1995 and will enter the final year of their 10 year, $20 million dollar partnership on June 30th. While the combinations aren’t as numerous as Oregon, MacIntyre was very pleased with how the uniforms turned out and the amount of different uniform types his players will have.
“We wanted to have different combinations that were in our color scheme,” said MacIntyre. “Silver is one of our colors, so that still grey looks like silver but is still good. And our helmets are very unique, that’s in between a regular and a matte, and we’re the only people in the country that have that.”
With the unveiling finally complete, CU is now moving towards the forefront of the facilities and equipment arms race that has gripped college football since Oregon’s Nike partnership burst onto the scene roughly ten years ago. Liufau believes that this is a big boost for the university, who has made very public their commitment to this football program.
“It’s definitely big,” said Liufau. “Today’s society I think is a very materialistic society and a lot of recruits will like what they see and it’ll attract some more guys so it should be helpful.”
Galloway, who is now in his 11th year at the university, echoed Liufau’s sentiments.
“No question,” he said. “We actually used some a lot of the photo assets from this week for the new graphics in the new building. So it’s a whole new era.”
A couple other uniform facts
-The silver trim on the uniform numbers is reflective, allowing it to be seen in the dark and reflecting brightly off lights.
-Coach MacIntyre and CU football’s mantra of ‘uncommon’ is stitched on the back of the jerseys.
-Factoring in socks and shoes, there are over 1,024 possible uniform combinations.
-The numbers were inspired by the Flatirons and the inside of the shoulder area was designed to look like horns.
Contact General Assignment Editor Andrew Haubner at email@example.com or follow him on twitter @A_G_Haubner