Miami University football coach Don Treadwell and equipment manager Darrell Hallberg didn’t exactly pull the wool over their players’ eyes Wednesday night. What they pulled was ShockWeb technology.
Treadwell had told the players to report to Taylor Auditorium on Wednesday for a special presentation on community service, but instead Hallberg surprised them with the unveiling of a new helmet and uniforms.
The players exploded in applause and cheers and raced out of their seats to the front of the room to immediately plaster social media sites with photos of their new digs.
“I’ve got older guys already calling me right now because everybody’s seeing it on social media,” senior defensive lineman Austin Brown said. “They’re all calling to see what’s going on.”
Miami joins programs such as UCLA and Nebraska as one of 12 schools to feature the adidas TECHFIT uniform with ShockWeb technology, and the RedHawks are the only team in the country to display the name of the school across the top of the shoulder pads.
The uniforms also feature their own font, which has red numbers outlined in chrome with a feather pattern insider the numerals. The feather pattern, which is a nod to Miami’s past, also is present on the red chrome helments.
“They’re sweet,” junior cornerback Dayonne Nunley said before leading the team in a rousing, impromptu version of the school fight song.
“I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning opening a new Play Station,” he added.
Treadwell said he has known for awhile the team would be getting new uniforms, but it was Hallberg’s idea to pull off the surprise unveiling. As the players watched a highlight video that included subtle hints about the new uniforms, several cameras hidden around the auditorium rolled to catch the players’ reaction.
“I saw the video (Ohio University) did with their new uniforms, and I thought ‘How can I take it to a whole other level,” Hallberg said. “I’ve been working on this project for a year and a half.”
Hallberg gave former MU player, coach and administrator Wayne Gibson (Class of 1948) a sneak preview Tuesday night.
“It was one of the best moments I’ve had in my five years here,” Hallberg said. “To see a 91-year-old man give a double fist pump almost in tears, it was really awesome.”
While the chrome and flashy design of the uniforms will appeal to the players and younger generation, Gibson said the “old-timers” are going to love them as well.
“Miami is named after the tribe, and this kind of brings them back into it,” he said. “Everybody in my generation will be so happy and so pleased. It’s really exciting.”