Syracuse changes nickname, logo

For years, Syracuse teams have been identified as the Orangemen and Orangewomen, one of the more distinctive nicknames in all of college sports.

The monikers will be even more unique next season.

All Syracuse teams will change their nicknames to the Orange next year, Director of Athletics Jake Crouthamel announced Tuesday at a press conference. Syracuse will also introduce a new, official school logo, teaming with Nike to redesign its major athletic uniforms.

The new logo consists of an interlocking SU that a Syracuse press release calls ‘aggressive’ and depicts ‘speed and a competitive edge.’ All SU uniforms will share this logo, as well as similar number styles and trim. Next year, Syracuse begins using the same shades of orange and blue in all its uniforms and apparel, ending years of color variation from sport to sport.

‘We’ve never had an official athletics logo,’ Crouthamel said. ‘We now will have an official logo, representing all of our sports.

‘Orange is going to be our new brand. We are the only school in the country that has orange as its primary color. We are trying to emphasize that.’

Unity and color seem the two biggest aspects of Syracuse’s move, as the university wants to stress uniformity throughout its athletics department.

Crouthamel felt his program has lacked consistency in his time as athletics director.

‘It standardizes what we do,’ Crouthamel said. ‘We’ve had somewhere in the neighborhood of 19 or 20 different logos. Where is the consistency? Also our colors, quite frankly, are all over the place. We are going to try and standardize that as much as we possibly can.’

Crouthamel said SU and apparel partner Nike have conducted two years’ worth of research before deciding on the new logo and color shades.

‘What it really came down to was doing some research on the school itself,’ said Christopher McClure, creative director for Nike Team Sports. ‘We looked at some cultural aspects, the history of the school and the culture around the school. In Syracuse’s case, we looked at their tradition and just tweaked what’s there now and tried to connect that to its history.’

The sweeping changes have received mixed reactions from those in the athletics program.

Syracuse tennis head coach Mac Gifford believes the time is now to display the school color.

‘When I heard the news I thought, ‘Wow, more orange,’ ‘ Gifford said. ‘But my players all love the orange thing. The interesting thing is that color kind of goes in cycles. Five or six years ago, people wouldn’t have worn orange on a dare, and now it seems to be the thing.’

Banding behind the color orange seems to be the most welcome aspect of SU’s changes.

With Syracuse as the only NCAA Division I school to have orange as its primary color, many officials felt that unifying each sport under the same hue by name was the right decision.

Assistant men’s basketball coach Mike Hopkins remembered the days when Syracuse attempted to change its nickname to the Wolves. This time, he feels the university made the right choice.

‘I never wanted to be a Wolf,’ Hopkins said. ‘But I have no problem being an Orange. It’s just simple, not confusing. It’s kind of like Michigan, how they chant ‘Go big blue.’ Now maybe we can have something like that, but orange.’

While Crouthamel feels the gender-based suffixes should be dropped, not everyone agrees.

Syracuse tennis player Katie Bramante said she enjoyed the nickname distinctions.

‘I don’t think (being the Orange) is a bad thing, but I don’t think it’s a good thing either,’ Bramante said. ‘As a female athlete, I liked being recognized as an Orangewoman. I think we will always be known as the Orangemen and Orangewomen to the fans. It’s just what we are.’

Matt Tarullo, a senior offensive lineman for the Syracuse football team, has been an Orangeman for three years and acknowledges the big adjustment.

‘I thought maybe it’ll be bad,’ Tarullo said. ‘But the more I think about it, the more I’m OK with it. It’s pretty weird, but I like the Orange. Change is good.’

Crouthamel insistently repeated that the changes were not based on financial matters. He pointed out that the athletics department receives no money from merchandising and licensing trademarks, saying instead that the changes were made solely to promote consistency and unity within the department.

Incoming chancellor Nancy Cantor thinks Crouthamel’s decision marks the beginning of a new era.

‘It’s nice to have a strong, energetic symbol and a single word that people can get behind,’ Cantor said. ‘I see my coming in as a continuation of tradition and this logo as a bridge between past and future.’

The new SU logo will appear on most merchandise and apparel and will be phased into team uniforms gradually, in addition to the new shades of orange and blue. The new Syracuse orange will be brighter than the current shade, while the new blue will be darker.

Syracuse will not change the design of its football helmets or pants, though, citing tradition as an overruling factor.

Crouthamel said he consulted with select university coaches about the decision but did not confer with players because of the relatively short time they spend at the school.

Nike has also worked with Oregon, Washington, Miami and Kentucky in similar redesigning projects.

McClure believes the Syracuse community will more than welcome the changes his team has helped implement.

‘The goal is to make this last 10, 20 years down the road,’ McClure said. ‘We want to create a long-lasting image of what Syracuse is all about. We’re trying to create something that is rooted in history but that can last into the future, something that everyone can rally behind for years to come.’

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