New name means new logos for Colorado Mesa sports teams
The change wasn’t evident on the practice field, but the Mavericks are excited about the changes at Colorado Mesa University.
No longer Mesa State College, the football team took the field Thursday for the first time since the institution officially changed its name.
“It’s kind of a privilege to be the first class to go through our senior year as CMU,” senior linebacker Jake Bruno said. “When it comes down to it, it’s pretty irrelevant to what we do. We still are going out there to win football games.”
Some of the older players have seen several changes to the school, including three different helmet logos.
Two years ago, the team had the Maverick head on the side of the helmets. Last season, they went old-school, with the angled “MESA” in white lettering adorning the helmets that was the look in the 1980s.
This year they’ll feature the new maroon “CMU” logo trimmed in black on their maroon helmets.
It’s one of several choices the teams have for logos. Before the name change, teams used either the Maverick head or the interlocking MS that was first used on the baseball team’s caps.
All sport-specific variations will be sent to the university’s marketing department for approval.
The coaches have several options — with the various color combinations, there are 15 “official” logos, not counting the Maverick head, which will have a new look within the next month.
The athletic department is switching to one uniform supplier, Nike, to help with costs and to make sure all the uniforms are the official colors, maroon, athletic gold and black.
Any uniform that reads “Mesa State” will be replaced, but those that read “Mavs” or “Mavericks” will still be used.
The cap logo, which will be used by the baseball and softball teams, features a large, oblong “C” in front of an interlocking “MU.”
Eventually, all typefaces and uniform colors will match.
“We’re all used to Mesa, but in the end, it doesn’t change us as a team,” senior linebacker Chad Benkelman said. “We still have our goals and it doesn’t change it in the long run.”
Junior running back J.R. Hamm is excited about the change.
“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “I wish I started coming here this year. I tell my brother, who’s about to be a senior, if you want to go D-II, go to Mesa, or CMU, because it’s the nicest D-II school I know of. I’m happy to be here.”
The name change is a little difficult for football coach Joe Ramunno, who’s in his 14th season.
“I’ve been trying to practice this ever since I heard it could happen,” Ramunno said. “I just keep saying Mesa. Everybody will get used to it. It gets the regional status, the university status and the tradition of Mesa.”
Healthy again: Hamm practiced Thursday for the first time since last fall.
He missed spring ball with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
“I’ve been working pretty hard this summer,” Hamm said. “We’re deep in (running backs on) the depth chart. I’ve got to show everything I’ve got. I just want to play. Hopefully I can switch in with whoever. We’re all great athletes and bring different things to the table.
“I love (the new offense). It’s going to kill defenses. It’s a lot easier. I had the hardest time learning (Jon) Boyer’s offense. It’s more like a pro (offense). This is still fast and gets in people’s heads.”
Hamm could be moved from tailback to fullback or H-back in the option spread offense.
“J.R. is such a good athlete,” Ramunno said. “I don’t know where we’ll have him, but we’ll find a spot for him.”
The other 22: The rest of the fall athletes will be on campus this weekend.
The first practice for the volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer teams is Monday, with golf and cross country practice beginning Aug. 22.
That’s the first day for Mesa’s 21st varsity sport, men’s cross country. In the winter, men’s indoor track becomes the 22nd varsity sport, with men’s outdoor track in the spring bringing the count to 23.
Early birds: The volleyball and men’s soccer teams will practice in the morning again this season, starting as early as 6:30 a.m. once classes begin Aug. 22.
Both teams practiced before class last season and liked the change. It freed up practice and game time in the afternoons at Walker Field, allowed the athletes to take classes offered later in the day and attend afternoon events on campus.