MORGANTOWN-West Virginia University will celebrate its entrance into the Big 12 Conference at 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 1, with a cookout. However, that will mark only one of many changes Mountaineer player, coaches and fans can expect to see over the next several weeks.
"July 1, 2012 is an important and historic day for our university," explained Director of Athletics Oliver Luck. "We wanted to do something special for our student-athletes as we join the Big 12 Conference, and bringing them together along with our coaches and staff will be a great way to recognize our membership into the new league.
"Everyone has been looking forward to this day and Sunday will be a time to enjoy it as an entire department."
Photo by Jim Butta
Ryan Nehlen, grandson of Hall of Fame head coach Don Nehlen, models the Mountaineers’ new gray uniform to members of the media on Wednesday. WVU opens its regular season against instate opponent Marshall University in the Friends of Coal Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 1.
The first day of July will be the official start date for WVU's membership, as well as the Horned Frogs from Texas Christian University, into the 10-member league. New commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who became the league's fourth commissioner on May 4, will be in attendance. The event will be held at Touchdown Terrace and is closed to the public.
Those in attendance will be the first to see Mountaineer Field's newest addition-the Big 12 logo-as well as the team's gray uniforms.
"As players, we really like them," said former-Parkersburg High School player Josh Jenkins. "These are exciting times and getting new uniforms adds to that excitement."
The uniforms will include the tradional old gold and blue colors that fans love, but the dominant color will be gray. The tops will have blue numbers outlined in gold and blue stripes running down each side while the pants will have blue stripes running down each side. The Flying WV as well as the Nike swoosh will be in gold on both the top and bottom and the player's name will be in gold on the uniform's back.
New gray helmets also will be part of the uniform. The WV will be blue outlined in old gold while a single gold stripe sandwiched between two smaller blue lines will travel from the facemask to the back of the helmet. The Big 12 logo will be on the back in gold as well.
The addition gives the Mountaineers, who already have white on white, gold on gold and blue on blue uniforms, a possiblity of 16 different color combinations.
"Anytime a new recruit comes onto campus, one of the first things they want to see are the uniforms that they will be wearing," said senior wide receiver Ryan Nehlen, grandson of Hall of Fame head coach Don Nehlen. "I don't know if they (the uniforms) make you play better, but as a player, it's always nice to have new uniforms to open a new season."
Just when will the Mountaineers break out their new duds won't be known until the week of their season-opener against instate opponent Marshall.
"The seniors usually get together and decide what the team will wear," continued Nehlen. "And that doesn't happen until the week of the game."