PROVO -- BYU's athletic departments kicked off the 1999-2000 season today with a new identity system complete with new logos and deeper shades of blue. The announcement was made jointly by university President Merrill J. Bateman and BYU's men's and women's athletic directors at a press conference conducted at Cougar Stadium.
"We're excited to introduce our new look. We feel it does a nice job of communicating who we are and will represent the university well," said President Bateman.
The new look incorporates symbols that have been longtime favorites with BYU fans--the cougar and the block Y. The primary marks spell out "Brigham Young University" and "Cougars." The Cougar now wears a feisty expression and many of the marks incorporate a mountain silhouette. Variations designed specifically for children are also available. All looks in the new identity system were carefully researched and reviewed prior to today's unveiling.
"This announcement has been eagerly anticipated by everyone associated with athletics. Those coaches and administrators involved in the process have expressed resounding approval of the new design and darker color," said Val Hale, men's athletic director. "We are confident that the new look will appeal to BYU fans and will provide a consistent visual package that works across all men's and women's sports at BYU."
A lot of research went into the new logo designs. Interviews were conducted with
athletic administrators, fans, coaches, athletes, and alumni, to understand their various needs and priorities.
The research found that fans, alumni and students alike identified with the Provo mountains, and that the BYU mascot needed to make a stronger statement for the Cougar teams, more expressive__more feisty.
One concern that received careful consideration in planning the new athletic identity was the reluctance of some BYU fans to wear bright royal blue. Administrators are hoping the change to a more wearable blue will turn BYU's athletic facilities into seas of blue cheering fans.
"We wanted to come up with a design that would be easier for our students and fans to identify with," commented Elaine Michaelis, women's athletic director. "An identity that gives teams, fans and media a more consistent and instant recognition of the university."
Once the decision was made to create a new identity for the school's athletic programs, top designs firms from throughout the country were considered, with the administration finally choosing Sean Michael Edwards Design out of New York City. SME has created logos and new identities for many of the top universities in the country, including Alabama, Penn State, and San Diego State, as well as for many professional teams, including the Utah Jazz.
BYU athletics did not have an official logo prior to 1985, and even since then teams have frequently come up with their own symbols and lettering. You could also find Cougar uniforms in a wide spectrum of blues. As recent as this past June at the 1999 NCAA outdoor track and field championships, BYU's men's team wore a torch-like logo with a flame above the Y, while the women's team wore a logo with the climbing cougar.
"As we begin this sports season and compete in a new conference, a unified athletic identity is being unveiled," added President Bateman. "It's a new, fresh package that energizes our teams and communicates well what BYU is all about."
Fans will get to see the new identity in action nationwide on two occasions in early September. The first, on Thursday, September 9 as the Cougar football team meets the Washington Huskies at Cougar Stadium live on ESPN. The following Thursday (Sept. 16), BYU plays in the first-ever Mountain West Conference game, taking on Colorado State also on ESPN.
The new merchandise is available locally at the school's bookstore, J.C. Penney's, Target and Wall-Mart, as well as the 12 locally and nationally owned FANZ stores.