MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – If you haven’t heard, West Virginia will be wearing a brand new uniform when it faces Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl this fall.
Named the Nike Country Roads Uniform, it immediately was a hit.
Mountaineer players couldn’t contain their excitement when the uniform was revealed to them. Fans reacted very strongly when WVU made the announcement. A behind-the-scenes video of the uniform photo/video shoot has over one million views on TikTok, and has more than a million more from one shared post by FOX Sports on Facebook alone.
The Backyard Brawl is already one of the most storied rivalries in all of college athletics. But add a new state-inspired uniform into the mix when the two teams haven’t played one another in more than a decade, and the level of excitement for the game only has one direction it can go – up.
“In my 20 years here in the athletic department, it’s one of the most well-received and popular things we’ve done,” said Matt Wells, the Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs at WVU. “I think this one [has] universally been praised.”
One reason as to why the new uniform has been so well received by WVU fans is the detailed designs that can be found within.
Various roadways running throughout the state of West Virginia are etched inside the numbers, the sleeves, and striping on the helmet and pants. In that aspect, it literally is a uniform of these country roads.
“Kristin Coldsnow put all that on paper and brought the magic to life, and made it work with the design. She’s just an uber-talented individual from a graphic design standpoint,” said Wells. “I think tying in that Country Roads theme, and using the road map of the state of West Virginia, that was some meticulous work that Kristin had to do.”
The style of the uniform can be described as retro-classic: a throwback meshed with modern touches.
An outline of the state on the helmet is a throwback to WVU’s helmets from the 1970s. The stripe on the pants is an ode to the pants worn during the 2002 road victory in the Brawl at Heinz Field. And the finish on the helmet, along with other aspects of the uniform, certainly have a modern feel.
But there is more to the design than immediately meets the eye.
“It also tied into the road design with mirroring the yellow line in the middle of the roads across the state of West Virginia,” Wells said of the stripes going down each pants leg. “That was one of those details that, kind of the story behind how you end up with the design that you have, there’s a lot of different layers to it.”
According to West Virginia, the Mountaineers will only wear the Country Roads Uniform once this season. That will be on September 1 at Heinz Field.
This isn’t the first time WVU will debut a new uniform against the Panthers. The question is, will history repeat itself this fall?
“I think the launch and unveil[ing] of that on digital and social media was huge. We got some huge numbers and a lot of great feedback and interaction,” Wells said. “So, I think it was really something that, back to your question, helped build on the hype and the anticipation for the Backyard Brawl.”
WVU announced Thursday that the Mountaineer Ticket office sold out of its allotment of tickets for the Backyard Brawl.
Tickets to the game are still available on the secondary market, but are selling quickly, thanks, in part, to the anticipation that builds a little more with each day we move closer to kickoff.