@LATechWBB Brings Back the Sleeves on Columbia Blue Unis
Oct. 19, 2017
RUSTON – They’re back!
Leon Barmore’s stare. National Championship banners. Sonja Hogg’s wardrobe. Thomas Assembly Center crowds.
Those are just some of the iconic images that come to mind when thinking about the storied 45-year history of the Louisiana Tech Lady Techster basketball program.
Oh, and yeah, those Columbia blue jerseys …. with the sleeves.
Missing since Louisiana Tech made the switch from Adidas to Nike in the summer of 2002, the traditional sleeved Lady Techster jersey will return to the court this season, at least on the iconic Columbia blue uniforms.
“Adidas has been tremendous to work with on this project, and we are thrilled with the finished product,” said head coach Brooke Stoehr, who donned the traditional sleeves during her playing days at Tech. “It is extremely important to me that we honor the tradition of the Lady Techster program in how we compete and carry ourselves on and off the court.”
A staple in the Lady Techster brand since the inception of the program in 1974, Tech fans – and the nation – became accustomed to seeing the sleeves on the jerseys during the program’s run through the national postseason tournament year after year after year.
It was part of the Lady Techster tradition.
However, after 29 years of donning those uniforms with pride – the Lady Techsters are believed to be the last women’s basketball program to maintain the sleeved jerseys as the national fad during the decade of the ’90s was to change to the more modern sleeveless jerseys – , even LA Tech dropped the sleeves prior to the 2002-03 season.
But, not by choice.
2002 was a summer of change for the program. Longtime Hall of Fame coach Leon Barmore announced his retirement in August and then-Associate Head Coach Kurt Budke was promoted, given the reins to the program.
Earlier that same summer before his retirement, Barmore elected to switch from Adidas to Nike. When it was time to order uniforms for that season, the apparel company told Tech that sleeves were no longer an option.
To some Lady Techster fans, the sky was falling. No chicken little here.
Thus for almost a decade, Techster uniforms were void of sleeves. And although a sleeved white Under Armor jersey was briefly re-introduced during the Teresa Weatherspoon-era, it was only worn a handful of times. Tech was still lacking that consistent piece of its history.
Well this year Lady Techster fans can look forward to seeing the Columbia blue, sleeved uniforms return to the court. In its first year with Adidas as its apparel provider, the Lady Techster program boasts four different uniform colors: white, Columbia blue, grey and pink.
“We felt like with the transition to Adidas we had a great opportunity to give our team a great look and feel in the uniforms as well as bring back one of the most well-known traditions for the Lady Techsters,” said Stoehr, who said the team could wear the blue uniforms at home and one the road. “Our partnership with Adidas has been extremely beneficial to our program, and we have been very pleased with the apparel and footwear for our team. Our student-athletes are extremely excited to debut the new uniforms as we open the season.”
The move back to the sleeves has pleased one of the Lady Techsters biggest fans.
“It pleases me,” said Louisiana Tech head coach emeritus Leon Barmore. “It was something that set us a part of a long, long time. Change is not necessarily always a bad thing but I’m glad she is going to back to having the sleeves with at least one of the uniforms.”
Even the current players understand the relevance of bringing the sleeves back to the mix.
“To me it represents what we have done in the past and where we are going,” said sophomore Anna McLeod. “With Coach Brooke and this staff we have been building to regain the tradition upon which our program was built. We have an ambition to get back there. I think it ultimately is about honoring the name on the front of the jersey and the history it represents.”
All of Louisiana Tech’s uniforms this year will also welcome back the three stars, representing the three national championship won by the program.
Season tickets are on sale as the Lady Techsters will play 16 home games this season. Tickets can be purchased by calling 318-257-3631 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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