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A Look Back At West Virginia’s Uniforms

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The pickaxe font is likely gone so let’s look back on how we did in these unique threads.

Geoff Coyle / WV Illustrated

By now you have seen the purported “new uniforms” that made their way through Twitter last week. These were not new concept uniforms as some people claimed, nor were they “first editions”, they were a fan idea that was posted online and then people made statements and the whole thing went viral. We, collectively, stayed away from tweeting the images out because we didn’t know where they came from and we do try, at times, to be factual.

My opinion on those uniforms is that they were a very good fan edit, but that was it. I know why so many people like them, because they look like the 1988 uniforms with the stripe down the leg and what not. I’m not that guy. I don’t want to live in the past, I want to look forward. I want to be forward thinking and I want to be innovative, not retro. I don’t like block letters because we can do better. I don’t like the pinstripe down the legs because we can do better. Whatever the new design is, I hope that it continues to think forward instead of living in the past.

So that we are talking openly, it has been known for a while that new uniforms were on the horizon. There was talk that we could have seen something last year but instead we got some minor edits. It is all but assumed that we will have a whole new set of threads when the 2019 starts but we probably won’t get an announcement until the Spring Game. The rumor that the West Virginia Mountaineers will be wearing at least something different next year isn’t new and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Ok, so now we’ve got all of that out of the way. Let’s talk about the “old” uniforms. I’m not going to argue with you about the font, though I thought it was at least unique. They tried. Probably missed but they tried. I liked the matte helmets and I liked that we tried some different things with the old school helmet and the white flying WV on one. It was different.

West Virginia debuted their pickaxe uniforms in 2013 following their first year in the Big 12. The uniforms were: all blue, all white and all gold. The gold helmet and white helmet we’re new for the team, replacing the grey helmets the team tried out in 2012 (along with the all grey uniforms).

The debut allowed the Mountaineers 27 uniform combinations.

They wore 20 of the possible 27 combinations. The seven they did not wear were

  • White-Gold-Gold
  • White-Gold-Blue
  • White-Blue-Gold
  • Gold-White-Blue
  • Gold-Gold-White
  • Gold-Blue-White
  • Blue-Gold-White

The Favorite Combinations

The combination that was worn the most was the all-white Stormtrooper combination. It was worn a total of nine times, including three times in 2013. It first debuted against Oklahoma when the Mountaineers made their first trip to Norman, Oklahoma. Despite the clean look, the Mountaineers were 2-7 in their all-whites, winning only in 2013 against TCU and 2016 against Iowa State.

West Virginia v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The other combination to be worn every year was the all-blue “True Blue” set. West Virginia first debuted this set against William & Mary in 2013. They wore it twice in 2014 against Texas Tech then again against TCU when the school debuted the “True Blue” game when ESPN’s College Gameday made their second trip to Morgantown. WVU fared better in their True Blue set going 4-3 in the seven games they wore the combination.

TCU v West Virginia Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The One-Offs

West Virginia had four different combinations they wore only once.

West Virginia v Oklahoma State Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

2018 against Oklahoma State. West Virginia jumps out of the gate and goes into halftime with an insurmountable lead, until Mike Gundy scrapped his gameplan and upset the Mountaineers, leading to a downward spiral that all but ended the Mountaineers Big 12 title hopes.

In 2013 against Kansas State, as players got to choose a host of new combinations, this was one of the first they tried with gold helmets and all-white uniforms.

NCAA Football: Kansas State at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The inverted look. Instead of the fan favorite Blue-Blue-Gold, West Virginia once used a Gold-Gold-Blue in 2016. This uniform wasn’t all bad as it was the first time the Mountaineers beat the Kansas State Wildcats, which seemed to have a hex over the Mountaineers for a while. West Virginia has now won 3 straight.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

The original away look. Blue helmets above a white jersey, because NCAA rules and gold pants. The OG Road uniform. The only time we saw this combination was against Oklahoma State in 2016.

Basically West Virginia tried one-offs against Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Little brothers indeed...

The Rest

That leaves us with 14 combinations that the team wore at least twice and often times more. These are the ones you are probably going to remember the most.

My two favorite of the 15 are the banana suits (triple gold!) or the Appalachian Tiger set.

NCAA Football: Kansas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

By far my favorite moment has to be wishing the team to wear these beautiful uniforms one more time in 2018. I posted on Twitter about how I wanted these uniforms and it came to fruition in such a beautiful manner. The Mountaineers only wore them twice, once in 2013 in an upset over Oklahoma State and this year. This is the perfect Gold Rush combination and I can’t thank the universe enough for getting them one more time. The team went 2-0 in these banana beauties.

My other favorite combination is my aptly named “Appalachian Tigers”. They are, by far, the best one-off uniform in college and you can’t change my mind. When the Mountaineers debuted these in 2014 against Oklahoma State, it was as if the first time I heard Lynyrd Skynyrd, the first time I saw my wife or the first time I had Texas barbeque. A whole new world was in front of me when these uniforms came about. I loved them the minute I saw them and the way we played in them made it even better. The team mimicked the LSU Tigers and they played like them too. The defense was outstanding in these uniforms. The team went 4-1 in these uniforms, with the only loss coming to TCU last year on a phantom pass interference call.

Appalachian Tigers
Michael Miller - SmokingMusket.com

The favorite road look for the team, after the Stormtroopers was the Blue-White-Blue look. The look didn’t start out well as it was the only time the Mountaineers were shutout, when they took on the Maryland Terrapins in Baltimore, in a game I attended in the pouring rain. The team wore them again against Baylor that same year in another ugly loss.

In fact the Mountaineers would start 0-3 in this combination before a dramatic Cactus Bowl victory in the wee hours of the morning turned the fortunes. Since the Cactus Bowl, the Mountaineers are undefeated in their road uniforms, rattling off four straight wins, including this year’s dramatic come from behind win against the Texas Longhorns with Gus Johnson’s voice forever echoing through time.

You can see the full list of the uniforms and their records below.

Record By Uniform Combination

Uniform (Helmet-Jersey-Pants) Record
Uniform (Helmet-Jersey-Pants) Record
White-White-White 2-7
White-White-Gold 0-1
White-White-Blue 3-2
White-Gold-White 2-0
White-Gold-Gold Never worn
White-Gold-Blue Never worn
White-Blue-White 2-1
White-Blue-Gold Never worn
White-Blue-Blue 3-1
Gold-White-White 0-1
Gold-White-Gold 4-1
Gold-White-Blue Never worn
Gold-Gold-White Never worn
Gold-Gold-Gold 2-0
Gold-Gold-Blue 1-0
Gold-Blue-White Never worn
Gold-Blue-Gold 2-1
Gold-Blue-Blue 1-1
Blue-White-White 1-3
Blue-White-Gold 0-1
Blue-White-Blue 4-3
Blue-Gold-White Never worn
Blue-Gold-Gold 3-0
Blue-Gold-Blue 4-2
Blue-Blue-White 4-2
Blue-Blue-Gold 2-2
Blue-Blue-Blue 4-4
West Virginia Record By Uniform Jake Lantz