In the O’Leary era, from 2004 to 2015, the Knights did not have player names on the back of their jerseys. That will change in the upcoming season with the arrival of newly designed uniforms and a new coaching staff.
“We could have rolled about anything out, and I think people would have been excited, since they’ve been looking at the same uniform for a long time,” head coach Scott Frost said.
The Knights will no longer wear those distinguished gold jerseys this upcoming season.
Instead, they will take the field wearing either black, white, anthracite — a hue of gray — and pewter jerseys with four different helmets options at their disposal.
“I think gold jerseys will come back eventually,” Frost said. “I think if you get too much of that gold, to me it looks like you’re wearing khaki.”
The original uniform combinations were gold jerseys with white pants, all-white uniforms or sometimes black jerseys paired with white helmets.
The Knights had experienced slight changes to their uniform designs over the years, but nothing as drastic as the set of uniforms they unveiled for the 2016-17 season.
The uniform change was just another mark in this new era for UCF football with Frost as the head coach and Danny White as the athletics director, but White insists he does not have any say in what uniforms the team wear on the field.
“The style of what’s modern and hip at a given moment, that’s not really my comfort zone,” White said. “I’ll always lean on our equipment staff and certainly our coaching staff that is involved in what kind of style we are going with from a uniform standpoint.”
Recently, UCF Athletics has extended its contract agreement with Nike through the 2022 season. Nike, the team’s sponsor since 2010, wants the new uniforms to signify UCF’s play on the field with a more aerodynamic uniform design.
Josh Iverson, the senior graphic designer for Nike, described the new look as a sense of identity and culture.
“Overall, very bold, very tough, high-contrast uniform,” Iverson said in a press release. “Hopefully [they] will look very tough on the field, but very fast.”
With the different jerseys, pants and helmets, the Knights will have 64 possible different uniform combinations.
“One of the things the school asked for was an interchangeable system that they could mix and match,” Iverson said. “Instead of having three or four uniforms, they have multiple, multiple combinations so you can create a unique look for almost every game… Really it’s almost an unlimited set of uniform [possibilities] that they have now.”
The Knights change of uniforms is perhaps the biggest statement of a new regime’s commitment to change for the better.
“We’ve been in the same thing and doing things the same way for a long time,” Frost said. “I want our uniforms and our football team to mirror what UCF is all about.”
UCF was first established in 1963 and is now the second-largest university in the nation. The football team has only been in existence since 1979.
In their short existence, the Knights have captured four conference titles and have played in seven bowl games, including a BCS win in the Fiesta Bowl.
“UCF is young and innovative school with a lot of excitement around it,” Frost said. “Our uniform and our football team need to match what UCF stands for and what UCF is. I think we took a big step toward getting there with our uniform change.”
Jean Racine is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @jeangracine or email him at JeanR@CentralFloridaFuture.com