The recent post on the Memphis Grizzlies’ throwback uniforms seems to be generating a lot (hey, it’s all relative) of traffic. It remains to be seen whether the interwebs are equally curious about uniforms that are actually cool, but here goes.
Several times this year, the Memphis Tigers have worn throwback uniforms based on the Tigers’ uniforms from the 1972-1973 season. I’m partial to the blue road version, but the white home version that Memphis debuted in the home opener against Belmont caused a craze. As Jason Smith reported, Tigers coach Josh Pastner was deluged with requests from fans who wanted to buy one of the jerseys, so he encouraged them to email the university president to ask that they be made available to the public. No word on how many emails Dr. Shirley Raines received, but I couldn’t find the jerseys for sale in the Tigers’ online store.
Several college teams have gone with the throwback look this year, but the New Mexico Lobos earned the It Goes to XI stamp of approval for the white uniforms they brought out for their home match-up against the Wyoming Cowboys (a 48-38 Lobo victory).
According to Lobos coach Steve Alford, the uniforms combine elements from several different uniforms from the ’60′s through the ’80′s. Alford, however, wisely sacrificed authenticity when he decided to leave the micro uniform shorts in the past. “The retro uniform pretty much got thrown out because had I gone with the short shorts, we might not have been able to field a team,” Alford told the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Perhaps Alford was feeling nostalgic for his days as a star at Indiana (pictured at right). If so, who could blame him? He left Indiana as the school’s all-time leading scorer (2,438 points – currently second behind Calbert Cheaney) and as a national champion. His final college game was the Hoosiers’ 74-73 victory over Syracuse to win the 1987 national title; in that game, Alford scored 23 points, shooting 8-15 from the floor, including 7-10 from beyond the arc.
As Seth Davis recently pointed out, Alford has not been half bad as a coach, either. At his first Division I head coaching stop, Alford led Southwest Missouri State to the Sweet Sixteen in 1999. Alford then coached the Iowa Hawkeyes for eight seasons, posting an overall record of 152-106. Under Alford, the Hawkeyes had seven consecutive winning seasons and played in the NCAA tournament three times. Alford is currently in his fifth season at New Mexico, where he has won at least 22 games each year. This year’s squad is 24-6 and won the Mountain West Conference regular season title. Alford likely deserves more credit than he gets as a head coach.
Deserved or not, I will give credit to Alford for this. In the short time I have been writing this blog, I have looked at a lot of team websites, and this is the first autograph request form that I have run across. Maybe Coach would sign one of these for me.
Back to the uniforms: the Lobos have worn them only against Wyoming, but here’s hoping that they make an appearance in the MWC Tournament (Vegas, baby!) or in the Big Dance. If you would like to be that guy at your next pickup game, you can get your own throwback here.