Athletics continues to alter identity, reaches deal with Nike

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics | A showcase of the type of apparel Duquesne’s athletic teams will be sporting next year. While the sample jerseys aren’t exactly what the Dukes will be sporting next year, it generated excitement for fans.

By David Borne | Staff Writer

Duquesne Athletic programs will sport a bit of a new look next season. Last week, athletic director Dave Harper announced the university’s new seven-year partnership with Nike.

While there had been plenty of speculation about a change, nothing was made official until the announcement.

The university was previously sponsored by adidas. The partnership with the European manufacturer began in 2007.

Harper broke the news of the switch at the A.J. Palumbo Center in front of every athletic team, as well as students and faculty members.

“It’s a testament to the institution, it’s a testament to our coaches, and it’s a testament especially to our student-athletes,” Harper said. “Because Nike thinks so much of you to associate their brand with your excellence, it’s truly a blessing.”

A short video was then played on the jumbotron, displaying images of cookie cutter uniforms to show athletes something like what their uniforms will be next season. Athletes Millie Micho, Rico Galassi, Linnea Faccenda, Andy Struttmann, Conor Richardson, and Mike Lewis II then took the stage, each showing off what the uniforms for their respective teams will look something like.

President Ken Gormley even joined in on the fun and ran onto the stage wearing one of the Nike football jerseys. Harper jokingly referred to the first-year university president as the new starting quarterback for the football team.

Nike comes with plenty of perks, including the primetime athletes that it sponsors. The most notable, of course, is LeBron James. New men’s basketball head coach Keith Dambrot, who coached James in high school, confirmed in an interview with Sports Illustrated that Duquesne will join the exclusive list of programs that will sport LeBron-brand gear on the court.

Something like a special brand of gear is just one of many little things that could potentially benefit Duquesne when a recruit is trying to decide which school to attend.

Many student-athletes, fans and coaches are thrilled with the switch from adidas to Nike. Most displayed their excitement by yelling and cheering at the announcement, and some even took to social media to express their excitement.

Everybody in attendance was able to leave with a new piece of Nike apparel: Red and blue shirts, that read, “We Are Duquesne” with the university’s logo below, were handed out following the announcement.

Football head coach Jerry Schmitt is looking forward to the transition to Nike and believes it will lead to many positive things for not only his program, but all of the others on campus as well.

“The Nike swoosh is one of the iconic logos in all of sports. To have Duquesne associated with the industry leader in athletics apparel will benefit our program in many ways. I know our student-athletes and staff are excited to begin this new relationship.”

Switching to Nike is just another step in Gormley and Harper’s process in reshaping the image of Duquesne Athletics. The new look will hopefully come with plenty of success for the Dukes on and off the playing fields.

Fans looking to purchase some of the new Nike gear can do so through the Duquesne University flash sale on the website for BSN Sports, another of Duquesne’s new business partners.

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