West Virginia football will be sporting a new look in 2013. The Mountaineers will have a total of 27 different uniform combinations to choose from, including the introduction of a white helmet for the first time since 1979 and a gold helmet for the first time since 1978.
The players will have three different Nike jersey colors to choose from including blue, gold and white, along with the same three color options for their pants. Stitched inside the back collar of all three jerseys will be the West Virginia state motto, Montani Semper Liberi, (Latin for "Mountaineers are Always Free,"). A canary image also will be stitched inside the front collar representing West Virginia's great coal heritage; miners once used canaries to help protect them from dangerous gasses whenever they entered the mine.
The new jerseys will have a unique number style that is exclusive to West Virginia University, featuring sharp points and edges inspired by a miner's pickaxe.
The school has worn gold and white helmets at various times in its history, most recently in the Bobby Bowden and Frank Cignetti eras of the 70s. However, the gold helmets of that era were more of a mustard or old gold finish and not the bright gold that is used by WVU athletics today. West Virginia also will continue to sport a blue helmet with the traditional gold flying WV logo popularized by Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen in 1980. All three helmets will feature the Flying WV and will have a matte finish, which will be different from the glossy paint finish on prior WVU helmets.
"Our players are really excited about the look of the three helmets," coach Dana Holgorsen said. "The blue, gold and white helmets go with all the uniform combos, and it will really give us a lot of options to choose from on game day."
Holgorsen unveiled the new uniforms to the team on Friday morning, and the first public unveiling took place Saturday at a Mountaineer Athletic Club event before the Gold-Blue spring football game. Holgorsen also revealed the new look on his twitter site earlier Saturday afternoon.
"Overall, I like our new look, and I know our players do too. It was time for a change, and I am glad that we could incorporate a little of the state's pride and history in this set of uniforms," Holgorsen added. "You can't even begin to put a value on how much uniforms and the look of your team plays in the recruiting game. We are pleased with the new look, and now it's time to turn our attention to summer conditioning and getting prepared for the 2013 season."
The fully integrated uniform system incorporates the latest in Nike's performance innovation, where the athlete's baselayer works in concert with his entire uniform – true innovation from the inside out. Lightweight padding is integrated directly into the crucial "hit zones" in the baselayer. Innovations include integrated Flywire technology in the neckline for reduced weight and lockdown fit over pads. Additionally, increased sleeve articulation provides better range of motion and four-way stretch fabrication delivers a streamlined shrink-wrap fit.