Small wonder Blue Hens love Delaware
SPORTS | State pride is at the forefront of several new UD athletics branding initiatives implemented this year by Eric Ziady, director of athletics and recreation services, and rolled out during the fall sports season.
Among the new traditions are the display of a patch of the state of Delaware on the game uniforms of all 21 intercollegiate teams, the outline of the state on the turf at the 50-yard line at Delaware Stadium and a “Blue Hen State of Mind” theme for the season. Also, members of the football team entered the field at home games displaying both the Delaware state flag and the U.S. flag.
“The University of Delaware is proud to be the flagship university for our state,” says Ziady, who began his second year in the post in November. “Blue Hens athletics holds such a special place in the history of this state, and the pride and loyalty that our fans show is second to none. Delaware athletics wants to take every opportunity to show how proud we are to be a part of the fabric of this great state.”
In addition to the Delaware state patch, the football team’s uniforms now include six small stars representing the six national championships won by the program.
“While the state patch represents all our teams’ commitment to represent the state of Delaware, the six stars on the football jerseys are a direct representation of the rich history and tradition that our football program has built through the years, and will be a constant reminder to our football student-athletes as to the goal of our program going forward,” Ziady says.
Another theme throughout the fall was the Blue Hen State of Mind branding, which is intended to celebrate being Blue Hens in the First State. A special logo was developed, and the mark will be used extensively in print and online throughout the year and across all 21 intercollegiate teams.
The Blue Hen State of Mind mentality encompasses what it means to be part of the Blue Hen athletics family while representing the state of Delaware, officials say. It highlights the goals of meeting challenges and aspiring to a tradition of excellence, whether in the community, in the classroom or on the playing field.
In addition, beginning this year, members of the Delaware football team were bused to the UD athletics complex for each home game and took part in a pregame march down Stadium Drive, led by the UD Marching Band, cheerleaders and spirit groups. They greeted fans and tailgaters to build excitement for the game on their way to the locker room.
UD football also hosted its annual Delaware Day as part of the Blue Hens’ game versus in-state opponent Delaware State University on Sept. 7. For that event, the University once again reached out to state employees, including educators and first responders, to invite them through various offers to be a part of a day celebrating all things Delaware.
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