On Monday night in Spokane, Nike and Washington State University will unveil the latest incarnation of Cougar uniforms in what is expected to be the biggest shift in style we've seen in quite some time. The switch from Russel Athletics to Nike brought subtle changes in the first generation of uniforms, but Monday brings wide-scale alterations across every program within the athletic department.
The new uniforms aren't simply a superficial change, though it's always exciting to see fresh duds as if we're kids trying on new clothes after a shopping spree. Instead, Monday's unveiling represents a conscious effort to create a brand by athletic director Bill Moos, who knows a thing or two about branding from his days at Oregon, where he also worked closely with Nike.
Think of it as new meets old, with pieces from the past brought up to date as Washington State gets the full Nike treatment, though not so overboard the uniform loses its tradition. The changes are long overdue, and the athletic department is looking to capitalize on the redesign through Monday's event, as well as a scrimmage in Spokane in an effort to build a buzz and rope-in more alumni.
I think WSU fans will be pleasantly surprised and happy with the new uniforms, aside from simply breaking the trend of boring and uncreative apparel. The most drastic change is the coloring, which I've been told will stand out and "pop" on the uniforms. Instead of the dull silver WSU has been sporting forever, the gray will be darker, more in-line with a charcoal color swatch. The crimson will be brighter as the Cougs move away from maroon and head more towards a lively crimson.
In addition to the color changes, which will be the most noticeable aspect of the redesign, the lettering, striping and all the minor details that go into a uniform have received attention. It's a makeover from the ground up and from head-to-toe.
Consider the uniform redesign a symbol of the athletic department -- a new look, new feel and a fresh start. It's all part of a big picture plan as Moos tries to increase the donation base and bring fans into the fold and remake the department he oversees.
For those in Spokane, coverage of the event will be broadcast on SWX. For those of us not in the area, SWX has confirmed there will be a webcast. I believe this is the link, but will check back with them shortly before to make sure. The event begins at 7 p.m., just in time to ignore the Mariners.
Consider this your open thread to discuss the new uniforms. We'll be back with pictures of the new duds as soon as they're unveiled, followed by a more in-depth post on Tuesday morning.