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End of sport-specific Wu

WSU’s black hats will drop the bat and ball this spring.When former Wichita State athletic director Jim Schaus debuted a new, sleeker, above-the-waist Wu-Shock, he liked the fact each sport could use it. Wu’s hands could hold a volleyball, a golf club, a pair of track spikes.

The hallway under Koch Arena features Wu in all these looks and more.

Times change. Administrations change. Consistent branding is now the way and fans will see less of Wu holding a ball in the future. This affects baseball the most, because the Shockers occasionally wear a black hat with Wu holding a bat and ball. It isn’t their main lid, but it’s been used for long enough it’s a familiar part of the look and feel of the program. The logo is also displayed rather prominently in center field at Eck Stadium.

WSU is largely doing away with sport-specific logos. A line of “retro” gear available in the souvenir store and web site will carry some. The baseball team will roll out the black hat with the swinging Wu for a throwback night.

Would WSU have made this move with Gene Stephenson coaching the baseball team? Probably not. The baseball team was the last holdout on the sport-specific front.

Athletic director Eric Sexton explained the change in an e-mail:“As marketing/branding trends evolve, this philosophy has changed recently to one of solidarity and singular brand recognition. The sole reason for going down this path is to market and brand a consistent recognition of Wichita State Athletics and Wichita State University overall.  This is what we see nationally among the top BCS institutions in the country.”The baseball team will continue to wear a black hat at times. The Wu won’t carry a ball and bat.

Fans can carry a deep attachment to logos. Predictably, some are upset at the change. They should be heartened by the fact the baseball’s team main hat – featuring the flying W and gold inset – won’t change.“I assure you that this decision was reached after prolonged thought and consideration for the good of the baseball program, coaches, the department, and most importantly, Wichita State University as a whole,” Sexton wrote. “I believe this is all in the name of progress, and hopefully, these subtle changes will be welcomed by supporters, alums, and all who care about the university.”