Society is rushing into modernity at a breakneck pace, allowing it and its consequences to infect each aspect of our lives. With every prodigious step taken towards a contemporary era, various institutions implement a myriad of changes in order to keep up with the rest of the world.
Although college athletics are largely resistant to accommodating the better aspects of forward-thinking life, one way in which many schools have attempted to stay in step with society is through its branding, a phrase which has taken on a new meaning in an age where every writer, student, do-gooder, and malefactor has the ability to shape their appearance to the rest of the world through strategically-designed social media accounts.
A great deal of schools have ditched old logos in recent years in favor of sleeker, updated looks. Whether or not these have truly been improvements is up to the fan, but here are 10 schools that desperately need to revert to their classic logos.
Boise State Broncos
I’m a fan of the angry horse head that is the face of Boise State Athletics. It’s menacing and utilizes the awesome color combination that the Broncos really know how to market.
However, this logo — in use for almost thirty years — is incredible. Idaho is one of our more spectacularly-shaped states, and the realistic horse (save for its royal blue and burnt orange hide) is quite a novel touch.
Given how many schools have brought back retro designs, I wouldn’t be shocked if Boise State found a way to incorporate this into a promotional event for a football or basketball game sometime soon.
Do you love tapping a toe to your favorite Glenn Miller recording of the “Chattanooga Choo-Choo?” Of course you do!
Do you enjoy birds that are roughly the same size as a steam engine? You’d better!
Do you enjoy those same behemoth birds conducting your locomotives? Maybe not so much.
Regardless of your preference, you have to admit that this logo — which pays homage to Miller’s timeless tune — is better than the one which followed it: a rather plain-looking, tri-toned “C.”
While the yearning for each of these logos is rooted in nostalgia, this Dayton one reigns above all others. After all, as a young person, this is one of the few logos on here I can recall.
I can imagine that this is also the case for many casual college basketball fans, as the final year Dayton used this logo was 2013-14, the season in which they made it all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.
Following that miraculous run, they instantly went with a rebrand which honors Ohio’s connection with aviation, but doesn’t possess the same charm of the old look.
Delaware Blue Hens
As a Kentuckian, I’m very familiar with fast food chains which specialize in serving fried chicken to the masses.
If the University of Delaware ever found itself in a budget shortfall, it should consider opening a fried chicken chain. It’d likely need to concoct a standout recipe, but they’d already have a few of their ducks in a row with this logo. After all, it could certainly double as the main branding for “Blue Hen Chicken.”
The current ETSU logo, an “E” whose middle bar is the State of Tennessee, is fine if you’re into that sort of thing.
However, I know what I’m into: college teams whose logos are eerily reminiscent of A-list Scooby Doo villains.
Unless your logo is derivative of a creepy character whose sole mission is to steal “his own cargo for the insurance” money (that was Redbeard’s actual scheme, folks), I want no part of you or your team.
I guarantee that if you were to show this logo to a British person and tell them that the Hofstra Pride are a 105-year-old English football team who are part of a heated rivalry with Accrington Stanley and Grimsby Town, more than 65% of people would believe you.
My brain is so broken that upon the very instant I first laid my eyeballs on this image, I instantly imagined that this Rice Owl is blurting out that catchy melody known only as “I Love to Singa.” You know, the song featured in the 1936 cartoon about a shy bird named Owl Jolson who won a radio contest by singing the aforementioned song.
Am I the only person my age who even knows that this song, let alone cartoon, exists? Possibly.
Is that something to be proud of? Who’s to say?
Saint Louis Billikens
NEVER mess with an eldritch, terrifying, Don Mancini-esque classic.
UC Irvine Anteaters
Sure, the current UC Irvine logo, which features an interlocking pattern made up of the three letters in its acronym, is neat. But that’s really about it.
When your mascot is something so unique and — quite frankly — bizarre, then you have to show it off. UC Irvine clearly knew this fact when their logo was something that seemed to have gotten its start on the Tracey Ullman Show.
Whether you like it or not, friend of the site Peter the Anteater has a face that needs to be displayed for all to see.
I adore how the “U” in this logo is a completely different font than the rest of the word. Somehow, it just works (especially when you remember that some of the best teams of the 1990s wore jerseys emblazoned with this).
UMass had a similarly splendid logo in the 2000s which featured... Johnny Tremain (?) scaling its name. It was recently replaced with — you guessed it — a boring, modern-looking word-mark. Please bring back the good stuff.
Many thanks to Chris Creamer and his website, Sportslogos.net, for keeping such a detailed archive of these pieces of sports history. It’s such an incredibly valuable resource.