The reaction from the overflow crowd at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center was a collective gasp of astonishment when seeing the results of the Oregon State athletic department’s rebranding.
Fans were uneasy leading up to Nike’s unveiling of the new uniforms and logos.
Nike, however, stayed true to OSU’s tradition, while adding to the look of the uniforms. The biggest change is the Beaver logo to a more sleek, fierce appearance.
“The reaction by the crowd was great,” athletic director Bob De Carolis said. “Whenever you do these things you don’t know what you are going to get. It’s kind of like art. So it was great to see everyone positive about it.”
Oregon State kept the OSU and dropped the OS and there’s a new Beavers script, while the font and design borrow from the classic look of the 1960s. The print font has notches in the lettering to symbolize a beaver chewing. The color scheme remains orange, black and white. Metallic bronze will be added as a trim.
“I love it,” football coach Mike Riley said. “We talked (with Nike) about the things they wanted to put into it — heritage, tradition. It’s new, but I think it’s us. That’s why (Nike) wanted to talk with us through this to tie it all in.”
The football uniforms added stripes on the shoulders from the Giant Killers era. There are three different football uniforms with all black, all white and all orange.
All the helmets have stripes from front to back in the center. The white helmet has the Beaver head, the black helmet is plain and the orange helmet has the jersey number on the side.
De Carolis said they’ll stick with those three combinations at first, but players like the idea of creating many combinations with the colors.
“I was in awe when I first saw them,” linebacker D.J. Alexander said. “I knew it was going to be something special, but I didn’t know it was going to be that good. The main thing is they are comfortable. We can play in them. They are fast and light. They look clean and nice. It’s not too much and not too little.”
The men’s soccer uniforms have the European club team look with a diagonal design on the front and the basketball jerseys have the Beaver head shaded on their backs.
“I love them and I love how each jersey says Oregon State different,” basketball player Roberto Nelson said. “I like the orange, especially. It brings back the history of Oregon State with the OSU across the chest. It works well on the jerseys and apparel. I like the Beaver on the back of the jersey.”
OSU’s rebranding concluded a two-year process with Nike. The Beavers tried to update themselves over the years with limited success.
When an apparel contract with Nike was renewed the conversation turned with a total rebrand.
OSU liked the idea of having a uniform look for all its teams, and the contemporary look would help in recruiting as an appeal to young people. The Beavers saw how the Oregon Ducks benefited from a Nike rebrand in the 1990s.
“I definitely think so,” Nelson said of helping recruiting. “Oregon does that a lot and I think that’s what gets them a lot of athletes. So with us having these new jerseys and rebranding for the whole school, it will help out the recruiting process.”
De Carolis admitted that uniforms don’t win games or championships, but it’s what the players like. And he wants to give them what attracts the top players, which in turn leads to more wins.
Alexander agreed. Before he arrived, he saw the Giant Killer retro Pro Combat jerseys. He wanted to try those on when he joined the team.
“When they said they were going to rebrand, I couldn’t wait,” Alexander said. “So yes, it does play a role in recruiting. Young guys like looking clean, looking like Oregon with all the uniforms that pop. When recruits look at that they get excited and want to be a part of that.”