Football coach Chris Ash described “a ton” of complaints about uniforms, and athletic director Pat Hobbs heard “you've got to change the football uniforms” a dozen times in his first day on the job.
In the spirit of a culture change at Rutgers, Hobbs and Rutgers football embraced the change with a return to tradition Tuesday night at the R Awards.
“We're trying to create a new culture around Rutgers,” Hobbs said.
“I think the uniforms our students wear every day are part of our image and what we want to project. We want to project success, project intensity. We want it to be bright and powerful.”
Ash played only a minor role in the change, he said, but embraces the final results.
“I wanted to go back to a traditional Rutgers look, one that was identifiable with us,” Ash said. “If we go play and somebody sees our helmets or our jerseys, I want them to say 'yeah that's Rutgers.' I'm not into the Oregon thing with all of the different uniforms and colors and things like that. I want a nice, clean, professional look that's traditional and identifiable with Rutgers.
“... When I got here, the uniform transformation was kind of underway. There was kind of a design already out there. I got here in time to make some adjustments that I thought I would rather do, but I didn't come up with the idea of changing the uniforms. That was already in motion.”
The players reacted in powerful applause when Rutgers unveiled its uniforms at the R Awards.
“They were kind of wanting a uniform change too,” Ash said. “Everything that I heard, I've told them about the traditional look and things like that, so I think they'll be excited [to wear them]."
Rutgers has black alternate uniforms for one game per year, but chose not to unveil them at the event. Helmet stickers, a feature in Ash's last two coaching stops, are in the conversation and remain “a possibility.”
Every team received some form of uniform or gear tweak during the awards banquet.
“It's a celebration of individual success, but it's also a celebration of our collective success,” Hobbs said. “It's tremendous.”