In a season that spans seven months, coaches have to come up with ways to keep players engaged through the grind of the regular season.
For the Ohio coaching staff, one way it thought of having fun was by introducing alternate jerseys.
“It keeps it fresh,” graduate assistant coach Travis Hyde said. “Guys like it. It was cool to wear new jerseys that you haven’t worn in a year or more.”
Ohio has worn five different jerseys this season. The Bobcats have worn their standard home and away uniforms and have sprinkled in three alternate jerseys for special occasions.
The Bobcats have worn Hawaiian themed sweaters for Dads’ Weekend, camouflage for Military Appreciation Night, and will be unveiling whiteout jerseys for their upcoming series against Pittsburgh.
When the Bobcats have gone away from their traditional home jerseys, they have a record of 1-2. Michigan-Dearborn swept them in their series meeting Nov. 1-2. The only win came in the second game against Slippery Rock.
The jerseys serve another purpose other than mixing the look up, too. The Hawaiian sweaters were auctioned off online during the games on Dad’s Weekend. The whiteout jerseys will also be auctioned off when they are worn in the upcoming series against Pittsburgh.
“It gives us a chance to increase our revenue a little bit,” Hyde said.
The Blue Line Boosters handle the auctions and take care of the money made from the sales. $3,100 was brought in over the weekend when the Hawaiian jerseys were sold. The top sellers were Tyler Harkins’ jersey for $500 and Jimmy Thomas for $420.
The Blue Line Boosters use the money to help support the team in different ways. The non-profit organization helps financially when the team goes on the road with the cost of the hotel and food for the team.
The special jerseys won’t be a one-and-done deal. The coaching staff is already looking at new jersey ideas for next season. Series that might feature different jerseys could be the weekend of homecoming and the final weekend before winter break.
“I know one idea we have right now is a tuxedo jersey,” Hyde said. “We’ll probably do it around homecoming just to do something creative and something fun.”
As for the coaches, they will not be wearing themed jackets this weekend. On Dad’s weekend, the coaches wore Hawaiian themed suit jackets but elected to go with their usual attire against Pittsburgh.