By Phil Hecken
The dashing gentleman you see above is Ethan Dimitroff, whose name most of you will likely recognize as one of my Sunday Morning Uni Watch uni “trackers.” This past fall, Ethan joined my other trackers (Rex Henry, Dennis Bolt and Kyle Acker), first by taking over the SEC tracking (a sample of which is below — you can click this or any image to enlarge), and then by assuming the B1G duties as well:
The entire year of SEC tracking can be found here. Not only did Ethan ably take over the SEC, he also jumped in to complete the final several games of the B1G when a prior tracker could no longer continue his tracking. Ethan also is the proprietor of the West Virginia Mountaineer uni tracker — which is pretty self-explanatory — and which tracks not only the 2016 uni combos, but goes back decades as well. It’s a pretty awesome research project, and one worth poking around for a few minutes.
I had hoped to feature some of the work (and uni interests) of my SMUW crew over the coming months, and today you’ll get to “meet” Ethan. Not only was he a great tracker (always getting me his work on time, pinching in), he was even able to do tracking the day of his wedding! (He did take the next weekend off while on his honeymoon, the slacker.) In fact, the profile picture that serves as the splash features him on his big day (the one on the right).
Like so many talented folks who read and contribute to Uni Watch, Ethan is also a uniform designer, and I wanted to give you guys a glimpse into some of his design work, and get to know him a little better. Here’s my “sit-down” with Ethan:
Uni Watch: You do amazing graphic work for SMUW and the WVU tracker. Are you a designer by trade? What’s your “day job”?
Ethan Dimitroff: Well “what I do for a living” I am a Deputy County Clerk for Kanawha County here in Charleston. I work in the record room with deeds and estates; real fun stuff. On election years I also do election work. Sadly I don’t do any professional graphic design. Which isn’t to say I haven’t tried. In my last job I made a new logo for the business and I’ve shopped some of my work I’ve done.
UW: Did you take any design classes in school? Clearly you have some skills — are you self-taught or is this something you learned in school? Have you always had a passion for design?
ED: I’ve actually never had any formal graphic design classes. I was a business major in college. I taught myself adobe illustrator and Photoshop (with the help of YouTube videos). I started my graphic design obsession little over 10 years ago when I was still in high school. I joined a fantasy football league at my church and wanted to have my own logo for my team (the Mad Rabbits) and after being unsatisfied with my Microsoft Paint rabbit head I learned Photoshop and many evolutions later I “graduated” to illustrator.
UW: I’m guessing this grew into a full league?
ED: Once I made my logo I made a logo for each team (mostly spoofs of NFL or college teams) then a league logo and so on and so forth. It got to the point that I made uniform designs, championship logos, etc. I’ve never been great at Fantasy Football but I’ve been in 4 leagues and I’ve always done logos for all my teams. I even was a finalist on one of Uni-Watch’s redesign the Hornet’s contest.
UW: Nice! That’s not too far off from what the Hornets actually went with! I know you’ve done the Mountaineer Tracker. Did you go to WVU? If not, where did you go and did you ever do any design work with (or for) them?
ED: As much as I love WVU I actually attended and graduated from West Virginia State University which is a small D3 school just outside of Charleston. Last summer I spent my free time designing an athletic brand identity for them. The football team uses the generic “block S” that Michigan State uses. I actually sent it in to the acting AD but never heard anything back. I thought it was a way to give back to my school seeing that I didn’t have money to give away. lol.
UW: Awesome. I’m going to run those below as a slideshow. If you can’t see the show, check out the WVSU set here.
UW: What else have you done, and do you think this is something (uniform or other design) you’d want to pursue as a vocation?
ED: This past spring I sent some work to a local semi pro football team; designed some uniforms, logos and such. But never heard back from the owner. I’d love to get into the graphic design business. I took it upon myself after seeing them to redesign their look. The uniforms do look pretty rough. They had plain blue helmets and pants. I tried to steer away from making an interlock wv to look too much like WVU especially with yellow and navy color scheme.
UW: Cool. How about your own uniform tastes. What are some of your influences, or what uni maker out there is a favorite? Would you say you like the more modern stuff or are you more of a traditionalist?
ED: As far as uni interests I’m a big fan of the modern templates that Nike puts out. Sometimes I think their designs are either bland or off. Teams with a traditional style still look the best in my opinion. Sometimes monochromatic can look really good, other times (like 95% of the color rush uniforms) they look really bad. The all white or all black (and even all gray) uniforms are really played out. If you turn on the TV and can’t tell who’s playing then that’s bad.
UW: It’s happening more and more — even with teams who use so-called “school colors” you sometimes can’t tell who’s who.
ED: I know some make a big deal with the matte finish of jerseys and pants and the disappearance of the sleeves but I feel that’s the evolution of the football uniform.
UW: You said teams with a traditional style still look best. Do you have any favorites?
ED: I might be in the minority but I remember as a kid when the Denver Broncos navy uniform really took me aback. The logo, the navy with bright orange stripe I was a huge fan. I wasn’t even a Broncos fan but had to have a John Elway jersey. I think the orange jersey full time really takes some of the appeal away.
UW: You kids today! Just kidding, but when you said Denver Broncos navy uniform and “remember as a kid” I lost a few more gray hairs. When I was a kid the Broncos wore orange jerseys, and dammit, they looked good. Now get off my lawn! Sorry — how about modern unis: what’s your favorite or favorites there?
ED: As far as modern uniforms I think the Seahawks is a solid look. It’d look better with the gray pants. The 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars were really cool with the teal flake. I thought it was good look and it was just enough to make them unique without feeling like a cheap arena team (like what their helmet is now).
UW: I have to say, after initially HATING the Seahawks redesign under Nike, it’s really grown on me. I’m still not a fan of their mono-blue look, but it’s their “thing.” And I totally agree with you on the gray pants. If they’d swap the blue trou for gray (and maybe darken it a bit), that would probably be a top-10 uni.
Back to what first piqued my interest — your WVU Mountaineers. I like that they ditched the gray with their latest redesign, but that pick-axe number font is just brutal. What do you think of their unis?
ED: As far as my favorite team, WVU, I feel their uniform is a bit bland. I used to comment that “as long as they change the helmet the uniform would be just fine” then they changed the helmet. The black elements feel out of place, the side panels are brutal and the “pickaxe” font seems like it belongs more to UTEP than WVU. It makes me miss the 2007-2012 uniform. If the could simplify the jerseys and maybe fix the number font they would have a solid look. My favorite uniform was the 2001 edition (even though that was a terrible season) the block font the trim on the collar and sleeves just a solid home and road look.
UW: Well, hopefully you can do a re-design for the Mountaineers soon! How about baseball? Other than the WVSU baseball uni, have you ever dabbled in baseball uni design?
ED: When it comes to baseball I’m a big fan of a great jersey script. There are a lot of cool solid looks around Major League Baseball. My personal favorite team; the Cincinnati Reds, I love the font they use throughout the brand I even like the black drop shadow. I even designed our church’s new softball jerseys and hats this past summer.
UW: And how did that turn out?
ED: Here’s the jersey design that I made for my church’s slow pitch softball team. I joined my wife’s church this past year when we moved in together and as soon as I found out there was a softball team I joined. Then (naturally) my next order was redoing the uniforms and making logos and such. The old jerseys were gray with scarlet red numbers and block elk river across the front. Since it’s slow pitch softball gotta have a colored “softball” top. Sadly the guy I had making the shirts really kept changing them on me. When I got the finished product they weren’t what I had envisioned.
UW: Neat. Anything else?
ED: Next is some of my fantasy football artwork. First is the Nazarene Football League which was started with some guys and I at my church 12 years ago. I’ve done each logo with uniforms to go with that. The second set is the Mountaineer Fantasy League which I started with a few of my friends from WVU. It’s very WVU themed included the championship round “the Couch Bowl”
UW: Fanastic. Thanks, Ethan. At some point, I’d love to have you back on to feature some more of your work. Thanks again for a great fall of Sunday Morning Uni Watch tracking. Looking forward to you returning again this year!
A Treasure Trove of Stuff from Ray Hund
Last weekend, I received several emails from Ray Hund, who sent in several sets of “Too Good For The Ticker”-worthy items, but with the massiveness of the Super Bowl posts, I thought they’d be better to run this weekend, where they wouldn’t get lost in the crush.
The first item is a bunch of “Super Heroes in NFL circa 1974.” Ray explains “To go along with SuperPatriot (which had been in last weekend’s ticker), here are some excerpts from the book More Than A Game by Jim Murray and John Wiebusch, 1974”
Here they are in slideshow form, but if you can’t see those images, you can click here
The next set is called “Ripped”. Again, I’ll let Ray explain (you can click to enlarge these photos):
Back in October of 2016, Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz had his jersey ripped in half. This doesn’t happen as much as it did in the past, when tear-away were common.
The first pic is Minnesota Vikings Jim Marshall taken during the “Mud Bowl” playoff game against the Rams in ’77:
The second is a ’74 pic of Cleveland Browns Greg Pruitt. Their website claims he made the tear-away jersey famous:
The third is Kenny Stabler. I had this memory of him with ripped sleeves and finally found a pic to verify the image in my brain. This might have been something he did to make throwing easier, or just an obscure bit of info from one game I had swimming around in my brain:
Today’s uniforms are so tight fitting. I miss the looser ones, the ones like Staubach is wearing in pic four because everything from my/your childhood is/was always better. Right?
The next segment from Ray is NBA: Bring Back The Belt!
1. Bill Russell:
2. Oscar Robertson:
4. (See caption):
5. Jerry Lucas:
Next up is a set of hockey players with numbers on their gloves. I’ll run these as a slideshow as well, so if you can’t see it, click here.
My favorite hockey teams in the late 60s early 70s were the Bruins & the Blackhawks. Loved the uniforms. One of the unique things about the Bruin’s uniform, to me, was the gloves — the way the player’s number appeared in a white box. As a result, the Bruins gloves were different from all the other teams and it became something I identified strongly with being part of the look of their uniform. Even their goalies — Gerry Cheevers & Eddie Johnston — had numbers on their blocker pad at the time. Based on the pics I’ve looked at, not all goalies did this.
Next up is a bit called GOOD EATS:
Both pics from The Minnesota Vikings: A Pictorial Drama by Richard Rainbolt.
It’s strange to me that two Hall-of-Fame players — Carl Eller & Fran Tarkenton — are eating in a cafeteria that is much worse looking than the one I had to endure in high school. The third player is Gene Washington.
Whatever they’re cooking in the second pic can’t be anywhere near as good as some of the stuff you’ve posted. Where are the nachos?
Finally, and these last two came in yesterday, Future Football:
From the book 75 Seasons:
Great stuff Ray. Thanks for sharing!
ESPN reminder: In case you missed it Thursday, the results of Paul’s Chargers-redesign contest have finally been published. Enjoy.
Speaking of redesign contests, Paul will have the results of our “Redesign the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Induction Jersey” challenge next week.
Party reminder: Uni Watch party next Sunday, Feb. 19, 3pm, in the back room of the Douglass (which is the same place we used to meet at, Sheep Station, but with a new name). Paul will be there, I’ll be there, and Paul may have theoretical T-shirts to sell, etc. Come join us!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: On Thursday, The Great One told “The Dan Patrick Show” that he “would have loved” to have played shortstop for the Detroit Tigers. Gretzky said he grew up as a Tigers fan and the Tigers reached out to Gretzky on Twitter, sharing an image of the their home jersey with the Hall-of-Famer’s name and No. 99 on the back. … UNC Softball broke out some navy softball tops over Carolina blue pants yesterday (from James Gilbert). … Looks like a few of the WBC cap designs are out (from Robert Hayes). Tweeter Billy Rothman thinks the USA caps are beautiful. … Here are a few more (from Robert Hayes). … Nice colorization here of the 1935 Kansas City Monarchs baseball team, icluding HOF’ers Andy Cooper, Willard Brown & Bullet Rogan (from Bruce Menard). … Current and former “perspicacious” Nats bloggers comment on new 1963-style Nats cap (from R. Scott Rogers). … Oklahoma softball debuted new uniforms yesterday. They are “steel gray and crimson.” … Tweeter Corey K notes, “There is a clear change of orange tone on 2017 @Mets cap.” Paul notes Official team color spec has not changed. … H/T to Keith Olbermann who tweeted, “Great piece on Topps airbrushing, and photo white whales like Jim Perry/A’s by Bruce Markusen.” … The St. Joseph’s Hawks have some new uniforms for the 2017 season (from SJU Hawks Baseball)…. The Chiba Lotte Marines will wear these Festa Uniforms 6 times in 2017. Some better views can be seen here (both of those are from Graveyard Baseball). … Here’s a look a the 16 Memorial Patch for Jose Fernandez which the Marlins will wear on their jerseys this year (from #MultipleSauces). … “A Double blast from the past” is how Brice Wallace describes this Mr. Redlegs/Scooby Doo pennant. … Good spot by PodKatt who notes OSU softball are using that new Marshall badge logo the football team started using. … So, you want to see a pixture of The Splendid Splinter in safari outfit sharing a beer with a monkey? Of course you do (that’s from the always awesome Bruce Menard). … College athletes aren’t “paid” of course, but if you’re a member of a major (or even not-so-major) school’s squad, you do receive some nice gear (from Damon Hirschensohn).
NFL News: Check out this still photo showing the combo of Bears players Muckensturm and Walterscheid. Submitter Ryan Patton says, “This Bears huddle comes right after the clip of Bob Thomas kicking with his chinstrap unsnapped. The combo of Muckensturm (Jerry) and Waltersheid (Len) right next to each other caught my eye as a pretty striking 23 letters in 2 last names. Both names rolling off the back into the shoulders.” … As the Hunt For
Red October Tom Brady’s elusive Super Bowl jersey continues, it turns out that Brett Favre is also missing his Supe jersey.
College Football News: I don’t often post helmet concepts (and lets face it, there are enough actual helmets in College Football as it is), but holy shit, check out this helmet concepted by Justin Standen for Army football. Whoa.
Hockey News: The Utah Utes have a hockey team. Connor Ferguson thinks they have pretty awesome uniforms. I have to say, I’m in agreement with this assessment. The Interlocking U crest, the white/black/white chest/sleeve striping, the red/black/red look. It flows nicely. Only thing I’m not a fan of is the tv number on the chest. That takes away from the whole thing. … This old hockey card is pretty cool: Patrick Kane with 269 career goals is now tied with Sylvain Turgeon, whose card young Kane appeared on in the 90’s (upper right). From Edward Snyder.
NBA News: My buddy Johnny Okray clearly loves these old 77 All Star Game logos, saying, “Oh. My. Best All-Star logo ever? Need to get one of these shirts.” Not sure about “best logo ever” but definitely sweet. … Here’s a very cool set of NBA Russian Nesting Dolls from Franklin Nevanen. … Here’s yesterday’s update from Zach Loesl: Atlanta at Sacramento was color on color, and Memphis wore MLK uniforms at home.
College/High School Hoops News: This has been reported before, but it bears repeating. Houston Baptist will be sporting some sweet-ass throwbacks this evening (h/t to JT Jakubik IV. Here’s another look (from HBU Basketball). And still more here. … There was a color on color match up Thursday night for Southern Miss and UTSA, with Southern Miss in “breast cancer awareness month” pink (from Sterling Randle). … Arizona has some Vegas-themed shirts for the PAC-12 tourney (from Dylan Delich). … Who wears short shorts? The Colorado State basketball team wears short shorts. Here’s why (from Rob Montoya). … Check out the Indiana-style warmups for Franklin County (Ky) girls basketball team (from Josh Claywell). … Also from Josh, Greenwood HS in Bowling Green, Ky., has a sublimated gator on court. … ” the women’s hoops team at my alma mater, Moravian College, is continuing their tradition of one-off pink uniforms as part of a ‘pink out’,” says Chris Kindred. … Last evening, the Quincy, IL HS Blue Devils went with the throwback sleeved unis. They wore them from the 70’s until the late 90’s (from Eric Spoonmore).
Soccer News: Here’s the first official image of the new #ATLUTD (Atlanta United) away kit, from Conrad Burry. … D.C. United will return to mostly white when hitting the road during the 2017 MLS season. Yesterday morning, the new secondary jersey was leaked in full by Todo Sobre Camisetas (from John Muir). … Sporting KC has also unveiled their new primary jersey for 2017 season. … Here are some “official” leaked pictures of the USA Third Kit (from Conrad Burry). … The New 2017 San Jose Earthquakes primary jersey will be released Thursday, but it looks like it’s already been leaked. … Many leaks (and releases) here (from Josh Hinton): Orlando City FC Home; Sporting Kansas City Home and Away; Real Salt Lake Away; San Jose Home; and D.C. United Away. … “Toulouse of the French Ligue 1 made an 80th year anniversary shirt, but there’s one problem,” writes Josh Hinton. “There was a Toulouse that was founded in 1937 but was rebranded to become a Paris-based club. A new Toulouse was then made in 1970, but the new Toulouse has zero connection with the old one.” He adds, “For American fans, I put it this way. The Cleveland Browns moved to become the Baltimore Ravens and an expansion Browns franchise was started. Let’s say that the expansion Browns made a patch to commemorate them being X years old when the Ravens are technically that old.” … OKC Energy FC has signed a multiyear partnership with Under Armour that will see the company become the official outfitter of the club and its affiliates. This marks the first all-encompassing professional and youth soccer apparel partnership for UA in the U.S. Kits to be revealed soon (from Christopher Corbaz). … “The Chicago Red Stars (woman’s soccer) announced their re-branding (yester)day” (from Steve Johnston). … According to the Tampa Bay Rowdies, their pre-season kits are (insert fire icon (from Kody Allenson).
Grab Bag: The U.S. ski team’s new uniforms look like Marvel superhero costumes. And so it goes. … Lynchburg College have unveiled a new Hornet Mascot and logo (from Zane Tuck). … Oops — it looks like Bill Belichick’s caddy has his name spelled wrong on his bib (from Nick Qualters). … In the world of tennis, the accomplishments of Roger Federer and Serena Williams stand out. So it’s only fitting that Wilson’s brand-new design strategy has the autograph racquets for both players appearing far different from the rest of the industry. … Loyola Men’s Lacrosse has a new addition to their home jerseys for 2017, with the Loyola Maryland motto: “Strong Truths Well Lived” (from LoyolaMensLax). Here’s more. And more still. … Lost in the excitement and outrage of Donald Trump’s first three weeks as president of the United States was a minor sartorial scandal: The putative leader of the free world cannot tie a necktie properly (from Tommythecpa). … “Due to a shinguard, Western Bulldogs AFLW player Tiana Ernst wears her left sock pulled down to the ankle, compared with the fully stretched sock on her right leg,” notes Graam Clayton. … Paul’s Matt Patricia lede from the other day reminded Jordan Cutler of this old slate article. He adds, “Here’s the interactive flag calculator.” … This article argues that with all the other “ads” and official revenue streams, college teams can make room for uniform ads. And so it begins.
And that’s it for today. Thanks to Ethan for sharing a bit into his designing and also for his stellar work on SMUW this past year, and also to Ray for sharing all the classic uni stuff!
I’ll be back tomorrow, so until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I am very sorry to have to report this, because it’s so stupid; but the Galaxy are no longer the ‘Los Angeles Galaxy’ but only the ‘LA Galaxy’. They made that change when Beckham arrived in 2007.”
— Ferdinand Cesarano