Wednesday, October 15, 2014

UNH Wildcats (1965, 2000)

We continue our look at one-year wonders with a couple of unique styles from UNH.

Andy Mooradian enjoyed a distinguished career as UNH’s athletics director from 1966-86, during which he shepherded the Wildcats’ leap from Division II to D-I in football and hockey, added women’s sports and hired such legendary coaches as Charlie Holt (hockey) and Bill Bowes (football). The field at Cowell Stadium bears his name, and for good reason. But in 1965, Mooradian’s only year as football coach, the Wildcats went 0-8 and they were outscored 292-58. That year, UNH ditched the silver helmets and pants they wore under predecessor Chief Boston for white versions:

The home jersey retained the look of previous seasons, but the roads underwent a slight change in the sleeves. Below left is the older jersey, from the 1964 Granite yearbook; on the right is what they wore in '65, from the '66 Granite. The difference is small, but it's there: 

In 1966, Mooradian became AD and Joe Yukica was hired as the new coach. Yukica added numbers to the sides of the helmet while the jerseys bore a striking resemblance to Penn State’s. Care to guess where Yukica played his college ball? By 1967, Yukica had turned the Wildcats into Yankee Conference title contenders and he was off to Boston College. 

Let’s fast-forward to 2000, Sean McDonnell’s second year as Wildcats coach. That summer, UNH unveiled a new brand identity for its sports teams; the big “U” next to the small “NH” was replaced by the logo the Wildcats have used since:


You can find a neat history of the UNH logo and mascot here.

When football season started, the classic “NH” worn on the helmets since 1976 was replaced by the new logo. But the shirts, for one year only, retained the vintage look of the Bill Bowes era, including the red trim that clashed with the new blue-and-silver helmet logo:

Alas, I don’t much to offer in terms of pictures of the hybrid uniform: Just one from the back cover of the 2001 Atlantic 10 media guide and one from the Valley News the day after UNH pounded Dartmouth in the inaugural Granite Bowl game. Look closely at the top picture, and you can see the new logo on Mr. Day’s helmet:

I’m not sure why the old jersey was used in 2000; with the logo unveiling occurring in the summer, there might not have been enough time for a proper jersey change and it was simply easier to recycle the late-90s garb. But the Wildcats wore new blue-and-silver uniforms in 2001, and the silver helmets from the Chief Boston years made a return in 2003, which have been used ever since.

Up next: A one-shot deal from the Rhody Rams.

1 comment:

  1. When I played at UNH first under Chief Boston, then one year with Andy and finally with Joe Yukica as Head coach(Bill Bowes was my line coach in his first
    coaching job), our Wildcat was a cute little kitten, its no wonder we went 0-8 that first year of 1965. Glad our wildcat is more ferocious now...The record seems to show it!!!