Beavers Unveil New Football Uniforms

Aug. 23, 2004

CORVALLIS, Ore. - They started as some just-for-fun sketches on equipment room notepads. They'll end up making their debut on national television. When Oregon State kicks off the 2004 football season at Louisiana State on Sept. 4, the Beavers will be sporting a new look for the first time in five seasons. OSU fans got a look at the new football uniforms on Monday, when they were unveiled during the Beaver Nation Rose City Rally in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square.The finished product looks a lot like the first draft. 'Ironically enough, the very first sketch we did is probably, to date, the closest mockup, and we went through a ton of them to get here,' said Steve McCoy, OSU's head equipment manager. The process has hardly been that simple. For the past year, McCoy has coordinated a process that's taken the new uniforms from concept to clothing while taking into consideration the varying needs and tastes of athletes, coaches, administrators and fans. 'It has to be looked at it from a lot of different angles,' McCoy said. 'It's not just a matter of making the kids feel good because they've got a really cool uniform; it's about representing the school and representing the team, and everybody has to take into consideration that when the football team takes the field for a nationally broadcast game, it is the representative of Oregon State University, so how do you want to represent yourself?' The answer is, largely the same way it has the past five years but with a little more orange here, a few more stripes there.The block-style, drop-shadow numbers will remain the same but will now be comprised of orange numerals with white trim on the home jerseys and orange with black on the road jerseys; the sleeve trim has become a crescent near the shoulders; there's a narrow stripe across the yolk; and the pants will have a sort of crescent of orange. The helmets will remain the same. Think a little bit Denver Broncos, a little bit Miami Dolphins, and quite a bit of the uniforms OSU wore from 1999-2003. Actually, there was nothing wrong with the former uniforms, but McCoy and his staff got to thinking of alternatives as they saw catalogs, opponents on Saturdays, games on television, and so on. 'A tweak, a little upgrade, a little kick in the pants for the uniform was in order,' McCoy said, no pun intended. There was also the fact that head coach Mike Riley - who had also changed the Beavers' uniforms during his first OSU season of 1997 - could put a bit of his own stamp on the program once again. After those first sketches, Riley got behind the idea. He allowed some input from players, but the guys who would wear the uniforms wouldn't be designing them. 'They get a little bit, but not a lot, because you'd have 100 different opinions,' McCoy said. 'And it has to have a certain representation of Oregon State, and some young minds will take that to a different level.' With Nike manufacturing OSU's uniforms, they were also consulted in the design. 'They have several different patterns they'd like to build off of, and they'd like to see you work within their structure and setup to help their marketing,' McCoy said. There's also the matter of being sure that the gear is conducive to performance. 'It can look great and be all that, but if it doesn't fit or if our kids are getting grabbed and thrown to the ground every play, it's not doing it's job,' McCoy said. Nike, which had helped a number of schools redesign their uniforms over the past few years, was able to point out what had helped in that department and what hadn't. Through the fall of 2003, McCoy, the rest of the OSU constituencies having an interest in the school's image, and Nike exchanged ideas and tweaked designs. By December, there was a consensus on the new uniforms. 'It's a lot of work, it's a lot of running around,' McCoy said. 'You need a lot of different opinions, you need a lot of authorizations, and you need everybody to be on the same page. That's hard to do. 'It was really tricky to find something that satisfied all of them, but I think we have. I'll tell you on Sept. 5.'