Marietta College provided a heads up to its football fans in the Don Drumm Stadium press box early Tuesday afternoon.
This season, MC will be wearing new head gear as a matte gray helmet with an oversized but familiar Pioneer head and a navy blue facemask was unveiled for the first time by first-year head coach Andy Waddle.
"I think the guys did a great job," said Waddle. whose Pioneers are scheduled to be on the practice field at Don Drumm for the first time at 7 p.m. Thursday. "Being the head coach, I signed off on it, but it certainly was not my design. I'm excited about it. I think it's a great look."
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times
Marietta College head football coach unveils a newly-designed, players’ helmet at Don Drumm Stadium Tuesday.
The helmet also features a bold navy blue stripe with white pinstripes down the middle. It'll be the first time in the 119-year history of the Pioneer football program that a gray helmet will be adorned by the players.
Ryan Zundell, MC's Director of Creative Services, was the principal designer of the helmet, which was produced by BSN Sports, the college's uniform provider, this summer.
"Coach Waddle, his staff, and I worked together, mocking up 100 different looks," Zundell said. "As we kind of whittled things down, Coach Waddle definitely wanted to go with something gray, and the matte finish today is kind of the hot, cool thing to wear."
When the 140 players expected to return to campus today, Waddle is planning to show them the newly designed helmet. The logos to the helmets, though, won't be added until just before the Pioneers' season opener at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland Sept. 7.
The Pioneer faithful in Marietta will get an opportunity to see the helmets and team in action at Don Drumm when it hosts Capital University in an Ohio Athletic Conference game at 7 p.m. Sept. 21.
"I think it's something that can get our players excited about the future of Marietta," said Waddle of the helmet. "It's certainly not the end all be all.
"I mean, the helmet style you wear has a whole lot less to do with your success. It's the guy inside that helmet. And, we hope that our guys inside those helmets are guys who are hungry and passionate about winning football games."
Last season, MC under the guidance of Jeff Filkovski went winless at 0-10. The Pioneers have not enjoyed a winning football campaign since 2006 when they posted a 6-4 record.
Waddle, of course, is looking forward to Thursday's first session on the field.
"You get the opportunity to go out and see what you have," he said. "It'll be our first opportunity to see our returners since they left in the spring. And, it's our first opportunity to see our freshmen up close. It's just an exciting time of the year. There's a new hope, new excitement.
"They'll be going in their helmets right away, but the stickers won't go on until later after camp (before the first game)."