by Jeff Fisher, High School Football America
When Lubbock High School squares-off Friday night against Dumas, the Westerners will be wearing specially-made uniforms to honor the 14th anniversary of 9/11.
The idea began several years ago when Lubbock Independent School District Athletic Director Mark Ball saw Texas Tech wear specially-designed Under Armour uniforms that honored the U.S. Armed Forces.
“When I saw that, I thought wouldn’t that be neat to have for a high school game,” said Ball, who has been a head football coach at four Texas schools — Graham, Lake Travis, Whitesboro and Wylie. “That’s when I started having conversations with Under Armour and Cardinal’s Sports Center, who we run our Under Armour contract through. The idea grew and grew until last fall when all parties agreed we could get it done.”
The LISD, made-up of Coronado, Estacado, Lubbock and Monterey high schools, was the first school district in America to have a district-wide exclusive deal with Under Armour, which means from 7th grade on-up, every school in the district in every sport, wears Under Armour products.
Ball designed the uniforms with the help of Daniel Walker, Cardinal’s Team Sales Manager.
“It was a lot of fun working on the uniforms,” said Walker. “I knew that Lubbock would be the first school to wear the uniform and I knew that Coach (Jason) Strunk liked the ‘graphite gray’, so we made that the base color for the uniform.”
With the base color in-place, Ball and Walker added red to the collar of the jerseys and royal blue to the trim around the sleeves and down the back of the pants. The numbers are royal blue, outlined in red with “USA” above the number on the front of the jersey. The design also includes digital camouflage.
On the back of the jerseys, Ball and company decided to add words like Courage, Commitment, Freedom, Honor, Integrity and Loyalty where you would normally see a player’s name.
— Strunky (@WestTxCoach) September 10, 2015
Ball says the uniforms were designed to be worn by all of the schools in the district over the next several years.
“In the future I’d like to see LISD develop a Military Appreciation Game,” said Ball. “It would also be great to have one of our teams wear these great uniforms on Veterans’ Day.”
“I’m very honored to wear our country’s colors on 9/11,” said Lubbock head coach Jason Strunk. “Having lived near NYC for most of my life, I had friends and relatives directly impacted by the events that day. Wearing these uniforms gives us a chance to honor the greatest country in the world.”
Strunk added that all of the players have decided to wear a red bandana in honor of Wells Crowther, who saved at least a dozen people after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. After saving those people on the 78th floor, Crowther, who wore a red bandana over his face during the rescues, was killed when the South Tower collapsed.
The players decided to add the red bandana to the uniform after Strunk showed them an ESPN story on Crowther, who had always carried a red bandana in his back pocket.
Jason Strunk has been writing the High School Football America blog The Turnaround since 2012. Read Strunk’s blog here.