If you have been paying close attention to Arizona football recruiting lately, you have probably noticed that recruits have been wearing the Desert Swarm throwback uniforms on their visits and in their commitment graphics.
Here’s an example:
Those uniforms are extremely popular among UA fans but the Wildcats have only donned them once in recent years—a 2019 home game vs. Oregon State. Might this be a sign that they are bringing them back full time?
Athletic director Dave Heeke hinted at it on an appearance on Eye on the Ball on FOX Sports 1450.
“This is a hard question to answer because there’s never a right answer, but let’s say this: we’re always looking at enhancing our uniforms,” Heeke said Friday. “There’s a fine line between respecting your tradition, the colors, the font styles, the history of what we’ve worn at different times, and then doing some things that might be a little more edgy or non-traditional that help in recruiting. But we’re never going to lose sight of the greatness that was here. I think you’ll see us trend to a more traditional look on all of our sports. That includes baseball, which we’ve been pretty traditional, but basketball and football. So I’m excited about that. I think there’s no better than some of those traditional uniforms that are so crisp and so good. That’s who Arizona is.”
Heeke was also asked about increasing the prominence of the vintage cactus logo, which became synonymous with Arizona basketball in the Lute Olson days.
“Obviously, we all remember it on the basketball floor, but there’s ways we’re gonna bring that back together,” Heeke responded. “We actually have some hats that Nike’s done in retail that have the old cactus logo on it, so you’re going to see more of that. That’s one of the big pieces of our tradition, our history, the linkage to the great years. Why would we ever not celebrate that? So we’re gonna try to embrace it and bring it back as much as we can, but also do the things that we need to do to stay current and promote Arizona and promote the Block A. All of it together will help our brand.”
Heeke added: “I think you can go way overboard where, one, people don’t like the uniforms or the styles. Two, they go, ‘who are we?’ You go out and look different all the time. And I get some schools like Oregon have done that. And if you don’t know who they are, you just say, ‘oh, that must be Oregon because they’re kind of crazy.’ That doesn’t serve anyone well. I think we’ve got to appreciate who we are, where we’ve been, and be really bold. Our colors are great—blue, red, white—and we can put some nice combinations together that everyone will like.”