PROVO, Utah — As part of a uniform branding initiative to strengthen the player and fan experience, BYU football will reintroduce to its existing uniform array both a royal and a navy helmet during the 2021 season.
Combining the program’s familiar brand with its historical uniform traditions, the two new helmets give the Cougars 26 uniform combinations that reflect the strong BYU football brand while enhancing the experience for current players, recruits, alumni and fans.
The specific game debut of the two new helmets as well as the uniform combination for each game will be announced during the season.
“It’s been exciting to see the reaction of the players as we introduced these new helmets that are part of their future but based on our proud past,” said BYU head coach Kalani Sitake. "BYU’s football tradition was built through many decades of success by those who wore the uniform representing the Cougars. Our players, former players, and Cougar Nation all value this great tradition of BYU football. We want the helmet and various uniform combinations to honor those who built the program and inspire those who will carry it forward.”
In 1964, BYU head coach Tommy Hudspeth, assistant coach LaVell Edwards, and future NFL quarterback Virgil Carter debuted a royal football helmet. The following year, BYU defeated Arizona, Arizona State, Utah and others to win the 1965 WAC championship—the first conference football title in school history.
In 1969, celebrating the centennial of college football, the Cougars returned to a white helmet with double-stripe design that had been used during the 1956 season. Now commonly viewed as the classic BYU look, the white helmet with blue stripes and Y logo remained the primary helmet for the next three decades during the Edwards era until a navy-blue helmet was adopted in 1999.
In partnership with Nike in 1999, BYU introduced the navy helmet along with new logos, colors, and uniforms. The navy jersey and helmet had not been used at BYU since the 1950s. The dark blue helmet again became a part of the tradition-rich history of Cougar football, which included the final season of Coach Edwards’ Hall of Fame career in 2000. Also finishing his playing career that same season was current BYU head coach Kalani Sitake, while other Cougar standouts such as Doak Walker Award winner Luke Staley, future NFL quarterbacks Brandon Doman and John Beck and many other great players donned the blue helmet while adding to the BYU football legacy.
In 2005, under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, the Cougars returned to the white helmet with the traditional-style jersey that had been popular throughout much of the Edwards era. All three colors of helmets that will now be utilized by BYU—white, royal, and navy—were used during Edwards' tenure in Provo dating back to 1962.
This past season, BYU football introduced another chapter in its uniform history by having the players select jersey combinations for each game. This resulted in 10 different looks during a season that saw the Cougars finish 11-1 with a No. 11 ranking—the highest final ranking for a BYU football team in 24 years.
"Including our student-athletes last season in deciding which uniforms to wear not only further heightened their participation with the team but also their spirit of ownership in their program,” said BYU equipment’s Billy Nixon. “It was fun for the players to see how the creative process resulted in an enhanced experience for both the team and the fans. Their engagement in that process helped us develop additional uniform combinations and increased the spirit of unity throughout the program.”
The two new helmet designs and uniform branding initiatives were developed under the direction of Coach Sitake by a committee consisting of Nixon, associate athletic director David Almodova, director of football operations Jon Swift and creative services director Dave Broberg.