Ranking the Hokies Uniform Combos

December 22, 2016

Marking the new Belk Bowl look, Virginia Tech will have worn nine different uniform combinations in 14 games during the 2016 season. In a world of flashy new uniforms, it's become the norm to see schools wear new threads on the field, even if they seem out of the ordinary. Tech had moments of glory and some not-so great moments this season from the solid maroon look to the Hokiestone design worn in Bristol.

Here's a simple ranking for all nine combinations. There's no special formula or chart, but the factors included tradition, cleanliness and overall color combination. Tech introduced an updated uniform cut design along with a new number font this season and it didn't change much of the feel from last season. The shoulder stripes returned for another year, and consider me one of those people that likes having some sort of stripe design on the sleeves.

1. Maroon - Maroon - Maroon (Miami & Clemson games)

All maroon is the perfect look for Virginia Tech. Any time it's worn, it signifies big games and is always fan favorite. It's like the NFL color rush look in college. The white numbers and orange accents look great under the lights and the tapered helmet stripes really stand out on this uniform combination for some reason. Two games is just right for the frequency of this combination – Anything more would wear out the special feel of this look.

2. Maroon - White - Maroon (UNC, Pitt & Duke games)

Worn three times this season (the most), this uniform combination has become known as the "Fuente Road Look" around the program. The maroon pants & helmet paired with the white jersey just feels like the right look for playing on the road, like a complete opposite from the traditional home look. Tech did not wear this uniform combination in 2015, so it felt kind of new after the hiatus. Expect this to be the new standard for road games in the future.

3. Maroon - White - White (Notre Dame game)

The all-white with the maroon helmet is a clean and solid traditional look for Virginia Tech. No place screams tradition like Notre Dame, so this combo felt right. There's not much in terms of flare with this one, which is not a bad thing. It's sharp. This might be a great look to reserve for big road games in the future, similar to the all maroon look at home. One upgrade with this uniform from 2015 was dropping the stripes on the pants and returning to the solid design.

4. Black - Hokiestone - Black (Tennessee game)

No doubt this was the most striking alternate uniform in the college football world during the early part of the season. Hokiestone is a great step in the right direction because of how much it is visually intertwined into the fabric of the Virginia Tech campus. However, the jersey was a bit much and the design was extremely busy. That said, the matte black helmet saved this uniform design and it looked amazing with the stone pattern in the decals. Would really like to see the stone pattern used down the road in a little more subtle manner, because it really is a unique design element.

One side note about this uniform – Nike now sends three sets of jerseys and pants to the program. With this special stone jersey and black pants, these replaced the orange jersey and pants for this season. That's why orange was not seen in 2016. Don't be surprised to see orange make a return next year.

5. Maroon - Maroon - White (Liberty & UVA games)

Every school has a traditional home combination and this is it for Virginia Tech. The new tapered helmet stripes made the debut on this design and most people gave them a thumbs up. It seemed kind of fitting that this was the uniform worn in Justin Fuente's first game on the sideline and the Virginia game at the end of the season. The hard thing to believe is that this look was only worn twice during the season.

6. Orange - Maroon - Maroon (ECU game)

The orange helmet looks extremely sharp in person, especially when it's by iteslf. When it's paired with the jersey, it's hard to have it match with the orange accents on the uniforms. The metallic look was very bright on the field that day and it looked great. Tech wore the helmet last season for a few games, but changing the VT to white and adding the tapered helmet stripes this season was a big step in the right direction. Any time maroon pants are worn at home is cool, though.

7. White - Maroon - White (Arkansas game)

A new matte white helmet made its debut in Charlotte and, like the orange helmet, it looked really cool in person. The facemask had a metallic look to it and the decals did as well. However, the chevron helmets were painted over late in the season in hopes to go with an all-white look for the bowl game. The Belk Bowl folks alternate between the ACC and SEC teams as the home team and unfortunately it landed on the ACC school this year and Tech is forced to wear maroon. If the bowl look was all-white, the combo would definitely be higher on this list. Next season will be a great time to see how that would look on the field.

8. Chevron - White - White (BC & Syracuse games)

White is really the only jersey color that works with the Chevron (Navy style) helmet. It's a cool helmet design with plenty of white, orange and maroon that was worn once at home and on the road. That said, two years is a great run for a one-off helmet design like this. It doesn't feature the new standard of the tapered helmet stripes, so it kind of felt like it didn't belong as the season went along. It may be time to consider another alternate helmet option.

9. Orange - Maroon - White (Georgia Tech game)

This was the first time in program history that an orange helmet was combined with a maroon jersey and white pants. It's tough to pull off three different colors on the three different elements. There's no feel of continuity. Orange pants MIGHT work with the orange helmet and maroon jersey down the road. In all honesty, it might just be the loss to GT that soured this look, but it did look OK seeing it live on TV, especially when the sun went down.

What was your favorite uniform look this season? Hit me up on Twitter - @Hokie20. See you in Charlotte!

Virginia Tech's MLB Redesign

February 17, 2016

Virginia Tech baseball starts later this month and I was trying to think of something cool to lead up to the start of the season. Over the past few years, Tech has included more and more uniform designs based on Major League Baseball. That got me thinking – What would one version of every MLB team's uniforms look like converted to Virginia Tech?


Arizona Diamondbacks: This off-the-wall design is being introduced for the 2016 season. It features a fading Hokie Stone shoulder pattern and a modern gothic font that really looks sharp on the orange background. The Diamondbacks name is shortened to "D-BACKS" on front, so something unique like that needed to go here. The university motto "UT PROSIM" seemed like a unique opportunity here, especially with the diamond where the space is.

LA Dodgers: The Dodgers were my favorite team growing up before the Nationals moved to DC in 2005. Their uniform is pretty much the same as it was when they played in Brooklyn. It's iconic with the script "Dodgers" and large red number on the front. Because of the historical style, this one seemed to be perfect for one of the other throwback logos both on the sleeve and hat.

San Francisco Giants: "SAN FRANCISCO" and "VIRGINIA TECH" feature the same number of letters, so this one was a perfect fit. This design actually came close to a reality this season for Virginia Tech baseball. However, the new gray uniforms they are getting will be sharp. The Giants have a cool club logo on the sleeve, so the university seal would look good there.

San Diego Padres: The script logo the Padres used up until this year was sharp and striking. It looks great with the accent underneath and the slight rise across the chest. This design became one of my favorites and would look cool on the field.

Colorado Rockies: "BLACKSBURG" once again makes an appearance and the letters & numbers are gray instead of white or orange on other uniforms. One thing that is unique about this design is the in-line orange accent.



Milwaukee Brewers: This jersey is one of my favorite of the 30 uniforms. The combo of the white script text with that rising arch really looks sharp. The orange drop shadow isn't dominating the design and is solid when paired with the number on the front. The state of Wisconsin is featured on the MLB jersey, so the alternate logo fits in place.

St. Louis Cardinals: Last season the Hokies sported my Cardinals design, but it was featured on a maroon jersey. The white Cardinals jersey is so iconic with the long bat and two cardinals perched. This one features the same design with an orange number, just to change it up a bit.

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs have a pretty iconic home look with the logo on the chest with the blue pinstripes. The road counterpart may be lesser-known, but the text is very tall and is perfect for "BLACKSBURG". One of the unique details is the logo on the pants.

Pittsburgh Pirates: A few MLB teams have a black jersey, but the Pirates one just seems to fit the best. The large yellow "P" with the double outline stands out. No different here with the orange "VT" with a double outline. This is the only black uniform featured in the set.

Cincinnati Reds: Cincy is a baseball town. The Reds have been around since the 1880's and the history of the franchise is all over the city. This design features the orange & maroon university seal on the chest because it has an old school feel. Tech doesn't feature a running HokieBird to match Mr. Redlegs, but it looks sharp on the sleeve.


Atlanta Braves: Ah, the Atlanta Braves. They have a unique uniform design with the iconic tomahawk with the script "Braves". This one needed something different than any of the other uniforms, so the rarely used Hokie Tracks seemed to fit that spot along with the script "Hokies" in the Goldsmith font.

Miami Marlins: The Marlins made a radical change when they moved to their new ballpark a few years ago. They're one of the few ball clubs that use an orange alternate uniform, so this one pretty much had to match. The "V" is the only part of the jersey that features a slight gold accent. The "VT" on the hat also features a gold outline.

New York Mets: "Blacksburg" makes a return on a gray uniform, this time similar to the "New York" on the jersey. It almost looks like it belongs on this style jersey. David Wright would approve.

Washington Nationals: A rarely used uniform in the Nats equipment room is the blue "Stars & Stripes" jersey. It's a little gaudy at times, but it works when games are played on holidays in the nation's capital. This one is no exception with the "VT" logo worn on the 2014 Military Appreciation football helmets. Since it's got a USA kind of feel, the Commonwealth of Virginia is featured on the sleeve.

Philadelphia Phillies: Finding the Phillies font seemed to be tough. After a while, this one seemed pretty close and looks accurate including the orange star dotting the "i". Philly also is the only MLB team that features the number on the sleeve.


Anaheim Angels: One of the head scratchers when it comes to MLB uniforms is the red alternate of the Angels. It's a solid red jersey with red letters and numbers. They don't really stand out, but that makes it one of the more unique uniforms in baseball. This is no diferent with the solid orange look.

Houston Astros: The Astros did a redesign not too long ago and it's pretty solid. Nothing out of the ordinary with this one. The angle of the arch works nicely with the second row kind of tucked uner the first. This is something the program could pull off easily with great results.

Oakland Athletics: The A's are all about the white. White jersey, white pants and white cleats. That's no different here with the "Hokies" in script and the HokieBird in place of the elephant on the sleeve. The orange bill and stripes on the socks pop with this uniform, much like the yellow does on the A's home uniform.

Seattle Mariners: This year, the Mariners are busting out some sweet Sunday alternate uniforms that look amazing. They combine their current look with a Seattle Pilots throwback feel including those amazing striped socks. Pretty much tried to replicate this one with the blue being maroon and the yellow being orange. The orange VT is a little different, but it seems to work well since there's no white in this uniform.

Texas Rangers: Virginia Tech once wore maroon uniforms with "TECH" across the chest. It's what people in this area call Virginia Tech because it's understood. The Rangers have "TEXAS" across the chest, so "TECH" makes sense here. The Rangers "T" on the cap and helmet features a drop shadow, so the "VT" features it as well. One of the favorite elements on this uniform is the Virginia flag – Something that isn't utilized at all by the athletic department.


Cleveland Indians: The alternate Indians uniform is one of a few cream uniforms in the MLB. It's a pretty simple design with the HokieBird head on the sleeve and the throwback "VT" logo on the hat, much like the "C" for the big league club.

Kansas City Royals: The script Royals look isn't worn on the road anymore, but this maroon jersey could be worn at home with white pants or on the road with gray. The full HokieBird seemed like something that could work on this one.

Detroit Tigers: This uniform needed something special to match the Old English style "D" on the chest of the Tigers home uniform. The university shield seemed to fit the best. The jersey is pretty simple, but the shield is powerful, much like the "D".

Minnesota Twins: The Twins have a very unique wordmark with the tall and bold font. It's pretty squared, but luckily I found one that worked pretty similar called "Jade Monkey". There's a slight gold accent on this one that you can't see unless you click on the image that is pretty cool. Minnesota also rocks the two guys shaking hands with the state outline on the sleeve. That's a perfect spot for the state outline "Tech".

Chicago White Sox: Thinking of the White Sox, Frank Thomas in that gray "Chicago" script uniform comes to mind. Replicating it with "Virginia Tech" or "Hokies" would be simple, but why not "Blacksburg"? It's something different and it looks pretty sharp outlined in white on the gray background.


Toronto Blue Jays: I've always liked the Blue Jays road uniform with "TORONTO" all the way across. It's a sharp look with the white inside the letters.

Baltimore Orioles: Tech already has a uniform very similar to this one. Went with a different script Hokies that more resembles the Orioles font along with the university seal on the sleeve. The hat features the HokieBird head, similar to the Oriole Bird on their current hat.

Tampa Bay Rays: The simple "Rays" uniform seemed to be the best move for this jersey. I've always been a fan of the jersey just saying "Tech" across the front, so this one fit perfect. Also included the Commonwealth of Virginia on the sleeve.

Boston Red Sox: Boston has a very simple uniform. No piping or accents - Just the name arched on the front. This one is no different with the "HOKIES" in the font they use for their jerseys.

New York Yankees: Classic pinstripes are the only way to go when it comes to replicating the Yankees. Instead of going with the VT logo, I went with the throwback logo since the Yankees look has always stayed the same over the years.

Stay cool.

The 2016 Virginia Tech Football Desktops

January 26, 2016

Just a small update today...Or big if you've already waiting for the 2016 Tech football campaign. Those of you that missed that Thursday night game last season have to be happy. I'm one of those people for sure.

Thursday night at Lane Stadium is a sight to behold. Maybe it's because it's the only big game on TV or maybe it's the fact that all the fans have been tailgating all day and the game is FINALLY kicking off. Regardless, it's back and Miami is the opponent. What a way for Mark Richt to make his first visit to Lane Stadium.

Check back here later this spring. I'll be updating the desktops when the new redesign kicks in.

Stay cool.

The Story Behind the Patch

November 10, 2015

Race Day: Martinsville, Virginia. It's a little cool, but nice day for a race in Southwestern Virginia. It marked my 10th race working for NBC this season and it has flown by.

The race is good – Battles for the lead, a couple spins, nothing out of the ordinary at the shortest and tightest track on the NASCAR circuit. Maybe about 150 laps into the race, my phone starts buzzing. Trying not to pay attention to it, I keep my mind on the race. It buzzes again. And again. And again. So I pull out my phone.

Every text: "Beamer's retiring." – "You see about Coach Beamer?" – "Worst day ever." – "Sad day." My mind goes kinda blank for a second... But the race doesn't stop. Pretty much had to tune everything out until the race was over, which was awesome, by the way.

Monday evening after Coach Beamer's press conference I was asked by a friend in the athletic department about an idea of doing a logo commemorating Beamer's career at Tech – Something that could be worn as a decal or patch on the football uniforms.

Wow. OK. I'm a uniform guy, no denying that. Making the patch design to be worn by the team to honor the greatest figure in Virginia Tech history? Sign me up. I started searching the web for ideas of what to do.

Maybe his name arched on a logo with the number 25? No. People might think it's 25 years.

How about a photo? Yes. A photo. What photo? A storied career full of moments. But which one?

There's really one moment that sticks out in any Hokie's mind – That's the post-game celebration after the 1999 Boston College game. Tech had just gone undefeated and would be playing for the national championship. The players raised Beamer on their shoulders as he waved the towel in the air. Then Beamer is hoisted up onto the Marching Virginian's drum major stand and handed a micorphone and proclaimed, "I want to see you all in New Orleans!" as he raised his fist in the air.

I found the perfect photo. The fist in the air made it for me.

A little Photoshop and Illustrator magic and we're in business. The idea was to have the logo be a little more vertical than horizontal, so the oval design worked perfectly with the arm sticking out.

Instead of having text around the perimeter of the design, I wanted to have some hidden significance that Tech fans could appreciate. Each star represents a conference championship under Beamer – The four on the left for the ACC and the three on the right for the Big East. Sure, it looks cool having the "all-star" feel to it, but they have meaning to make it even better.

The signature is traced from an autograph Beamer signed for me several years ago and realigned with the two years. Throw in the VT on the bottom and we're ready to rip.

Now the logo is on some shirts available at the bookstore and it will be worn by the team for the remaining games this season.

I'm not sure where the logo will be used beyond these shirts or the football team uniforms. Hopefully it's used all over the place between now and the end of the year. It's cool to see it.

It's an honor to play a small part honoring Frank Beamer's legacy at Tech. I've been going to games for over 20 years with my family and friends.

During Frank Beamer's final few games, take a step back and think about his influence on you. Maybe you've met him once for an autograph. Maybe you got your picture with him. But really think about the success he brought Virginia Tech for so many years and his indirect influence on you. Without his success, Tech doesn't make it into the ACC. Without his success, are you a Tech student or fan? Think about all those home games at Lane Stadium, road games at Scott Stadium and bowl trips to New Orleans, Miami and Atlanta. Those memories might not even exist if it wasn't for Frank Beamer.

Thanks, Coach. Thanks for those memories.

The 2015 Virginia Tech Football Desktops

January 28, 2015

The football schedule is out and Labor Day can't get here soon enough. The trip to Columbus was amazing, but seems like it was forever ago. All the Ohio State fans I came across were very friendly and welcoming to Columbus. Sure, maybe they thought the Buckeyes were going to win the game by 40 - Luckily that didn't happen.

This year's schedule is an interesting one. Obviously the first thing that stands out is the lack of a Thursday night game. The only teams that seemed like a Thursday opponent were Duke, UNC and NC State. Instead that game against NC State is on a Friday night. Last year's UVA game seemed to be a red flag because of the Friday date. At least we know the State game will be at night. Instead of a four-day weekend, we'll get a three-day one.

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It's been a little while since the last site entry. That doesn't mean the site hasn't been updated, though. The single-game desktops were updated throughout the season along with the Uniform Builder. Everything has been updated with the Military Bowl patch and the captaincy patch that I started campaigning for in early December.

Keep checking back throughout the summer. I'll be posting a few more desktops between now and the start of the season. Be sure to check out some recent work on the resume page.

Stay cool.

Springtime trips and site additions

July 8, 2014

It's been almost six months since the previous update. Apologies to everyone looking for a couple of fresh desktops or a Unibuilder update. Luckily, there's a little bit of both in this latest addition. Check out the desktops below and the new ACC logos have been added.

First off, it's been a busy few months since January. Well, it's been VERY busy. February included a trip to see a Capitals game with friends. March included a trip to Spring Training with my dad and a trip to Montreal with my good buddy Nathan to see the Mets and Blue Jays play exhibition games at the old Olympic Stadium.

Enjoying baseball at Olympic Stadium in Montreal with Nathan Warters

Montreal was a really cool city. Sure, everyone speaks French, but they also speak English, especially when two Hokies with southern accents are talking. Nathan and I have a goal to check out every MLB stadium, but this was a great opportunity to see a piece of baseball history for one more time. Montreal loves baseball and it showed. There were 50,000 people at the two games and everyone was wearing their Expos gear. The French Canadian national anthem and the Expos cheers really was a cool thing to witness in person.

Along with our trip across the border, we also stopped by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. There they had a "locker" for every MLB team with cool historic items. One of the items with the Washington Nationals was a Virginia Tech hat worn by a player on April 16, 2007. It's great to see something like that associated with the Nationals.

Tech hat worn by a Washington National at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

Baseball took a backseat the very next weekend when some friends of mine made a trip to Dallas for a combination basketball and NASCAR weekend in Dallas. Every year, the Cup series visits Texas Motor Speedway near Fort Worth on the first weekend in April for a Saturday night event. However, this year it was moved to Sunday due to the Final Four being played in Arlington at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. This was a great opportunity for a big weekend in the Lone Star State and to visit TMS & knock the Final Four off of the bucket list.

Kaleb, Ryan, Mike and I posed for a photo at the Final Four in Texas

What an awesome experience to see the Final Four in person. If you ever get the chance, it's neat just to feel the tension and see the excitement. I just hope Virginia Tech can make it there one day, because it's an amazing event. Not to mention, the signature dish at the event was a chicken & waffle sandwich in the shape of Texas. It was huge, but very delicious!

Some people might ask how the trips were made to all these places and I still managed to keep my job. Despite the events and whatnot, I was able to complete a project about the history of Minor League Baseball in Salem, Virginia. I grew up in Botetourt and have gone to Salem Bucs/Avalanche/Sox games my whole life. There was so much I didn't know about the teams, stadiums and people that made baseball such a staple in Salem and not in the larger Roanoke City area. The project stemmed from a 22-inch snowstorm early in the year which prompted research on various websites and in history books.

Every uniform worn by Salem/Roanoke minor league teams since 1939 (click to enlarge)

Thanks to the help from the Salem Museum, the Salem Times-Register, the Salem Red Sox and the Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame, I was able to compile a complete uniform history of Salem Baseball from the first team that played 75 years ago to today. From that point, the magazine project took off. I interviewed many players from different eras like Dave Parker to Tim Wakefield along with former general managers and the current ownership. Many late nights of research and photo searches later, the article came out in mid-May in time for the 75th anniversary of the first team to play in Salem. If you get a chance, check out the article in the Salem Magazine.

Around the same time, the Salem police department revealed another long-term project I had been working on. The police chief came to me and asked if I would help redesign their car fleet to something bold and sharp. I helped create about 10 different car designs and the entire department voted on the ones they liked. Many months later, the new design was selected.

The new Salem police car design and an old Salem police car

It's pretty cool to see one of the cars drive by or parked in front of the police station. This current design will be around for years to come and maybe when these cars become outdated, I'll get a chance to design the next version.

The month of May included the traditional trip to the Indianapolis 500 with my father and friends (pic at the top) and a few Washington Nationals games. Along with the trips, I was able to get my #32 Tech football jersey signed by Coach Beamer and President Steger before he retired. It'll look great framed in my apartment or office in Salem.

2007 jersey signed by President Steger and Coach Beamer earlier this year

Speaking of jerseys, there are still a few remaining from the VT auction in November. I'm asking $120 or best offer. Check out this page and shoot me an email if you're interested.

No site update would be complete without a few desktops. Special thanks to the HokieBird for this cool photo idea I had this summer. Football season is just around the corner. The Coach Beamer photo has been in my collection for a while and seemed like a great one to use this month.

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The NASCAR on TNT season has ended for me this season working as a camera spotter, but luckily I'll be with NBC next year. Unfortunately it is the second half of the 2015 campaign, so it will cut into football season. So this year has to count, which means going to all 13 or 14 games in 2014.

Green flag at Daytona while spotting for TNT

Be on the lookout for the 2014 Tech football poster in the next month. I was given the task to put it together and it came out awesome. The stadium cup designs will also be finished soon. Follow me on twitter to check out the poster when it's released by the athletic department.

There are places to go and things to do between now and the beginning of football season!

Stay cool.

2014 Schedule Desktops - We Are Hokies

January 22, 2014

The football schedule is out and Thursday night football is returning to Lane Stadium! That said, this season will be very easy to make it to all 12 games. So far, it's looking good to make it to each one. Who's with me?

That first month is full of Saturday home games, which results in only one for the months of October and November. I like that, mainly because it's great to be able to just enjoy a Saturday of full college football games.

The desktops have been made and are ready to roll. The plan is to add one each month leading up to the season.

I've still got some jerseys from the VT auction in November. I'm asking $150 or best offer. Check out this page and shoot me an email if you're interested.

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El Paso was an amazing trip despite the losing result. Everyone in that city is extremely friendly and they know how to welcome travelers. I've told fellow Hokies that this is one trip you need to make at least once. The only bad part is the travel, which isn't super easy.

The Uniform Builder has been updated with the Sun Bowl patch on the left shoulder. Be sure to check it out.

Time to head to the basketball game against Wake Forest tonight. Maybe the Hokies can pick up the W.

Stay cool.

The Sun Bowl Color vs. Color Campaign

December 26, 2013

It's been a month since the latest site update, but I've been working on various projects and was not able to get around to it until now.

After the ACC Championship game earlier this month, I started a twitter campaign for both UCLA and Tech to wear their colored uniforms for next week's Sun Bowl. Many people got on board including Uniwatch and members of the media, but it fell short when the white uniforms were sent to El Paso. At least the Hokies will be rocking the maroon striped helmets as they did against Miami and Virginia earlier this season.

Hopefully the football team puts on a better show than the basketball team did in Richmond against VCU. It was tough to sit there in the stands and watch the team struggle mightily. One thing that did surprise me was the VCU fans and how they acted. They reminded me of Boise State fans from 2010.

There are several jerseys still for sale from the VT auction in November. Some really cool stuff here. There's too many for us to not share with fellow Hokies. I'm asking $150 or best offer. Check out this page and shoot me an email if you're interested.

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Looking forward to seeing a new city next week down in El Paso. Can't belive it's already the end of another calendar year.

Stay cool.

Uniform Builder Version 2 and a little history

November 25, 2013

The long wait is over and a favorite part of the website is now up and running - Version 2 of the Virginia Tech Uniform Builder.

The first Uniform Builder launched two years ago on the old website mainly because I thought it would be cool to see what different uniform combinations would look like week-to-week. Thanks to some help from a few friends, it was launched and quickly became a hit. But there was a problem - It did not look good on a mobile phone.

Thanks to some help from a few work friends, we came up with a plan to make a new Uniform Builder that would be mobile-friendly. It was a chance to start out fresh, so I was able to find a template made by "Marble 21" on the deviantart website.

It's pretty cool how it all came together from there. As the research ensued to figure out the different elements, I thought it would be pretty cool to record every uniform combination worn in the 26-season career of Frank Beamer. There are so many small details that changed from year-to-year, which is why there are so many parts to the Unibuilder.

The plan is to continue to add the new helmets, jerseys and pants that pop up every week. Some schools promote their new uniform additions these days, but Tech seems to be very hush-hush and spontaneous now.

Enjoy the new Uniform Builder! If there are any errors or additions, PLEASE send me some photos. This has been a fun project, but accuracy is important. Down the road I'd love to add on the pre-Beamer uniforms and photos would be a huge help.

This Uniform Builder project really opened my eyes to the history of the Virginia Tech football program. They built a brand new locker room and equipment facility this year and cleaned some house. When the equipment guys did, they sent stacks of old jerseys to be auctioned off at the Virginia Tech Surplus Auction. These jerseys are becoming more and more rare, so a buddy of mine and I jumped on the opportunity to buy a little bit of program history. There's some pretty big names that we ended up purchasing. Some we didn't get, like a couple of Deangelo Hall and Antonio Freeman jerseys. But highlights I was able to snag included a Jim Pyne, Andre Davis and many other different styles through the years.

The jerseys came in lots of three, so we ended up getting several more that we're selling. There's too many for us to not share with fellow Hokies. Check out this page and shoot me an email if you're interested.

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Have a Happy Thanksgiving and see you in Charlottesville - I'll be rocking the #73 Jim Pyne jersey.

Stay cool.

Tech Basketball tips off in Blacksburg

November 11, 2013

Saturday marked the season-opener for Tech basketball and saying the game was a struggle would be pretty accurate.

It was cool to see the new video screens in Cassell, but it is really strange having all of the scoreboard numbers in different locations. It takes a little while to get used to seeing everything along that little tiny line on the bottom of the screen. The screen size may have doubled, but the stats and game clock have been halved. Hopefully the kinks can get worked out, much like the play of the team.

As for the football team, it was great to see them take care of business at Miami. It's amazing how one game can change the entire course of the season or even the program. Congrats to the team for putting a full game together. Again, there's too much talent on this team to struggle like they did against Duke and Boston College.

Prior to the game, Andy Bitter tweeted to me about the helmet stripes returning to the maroon lids and if it was in the current Unibuilder. It sure is - the same style worn against Georgia Tech in 2011. It will definitely be featured in the new Unibuilder.

Here's a look at what goes into the uniform builder. It's just a screenshot of the folder with all 117 different elements - Helmets, Jerseys, Sleeves, Pants and Socks.

This week's desktop features Trey Edmunds after what was his best performance of the season. Earlier this year Paul Lukas of Uniwatch reported that Tech will be wearing the Hokiestone helmets again this season. Considering there's two games left in the regular season and it being Senior Day, I went ahead and put the Hokiestone helmet on this week's desktop. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it's worn this week and maybe even in three weeks in Charlottesville.

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Thank you to all of the veterans and current military members and first responders. You're why this is the best country in the world.

Stay cool.

Overhauling the Virginia Tech Uniform Builder

November 5, 2013

Sorry for the later site update, but it's for good reason - I've been working on the new Unibuilder.

Several years ago I saw a website tracking Oregon's various different uniform combinations and had a fun time looking through all of the different combinations they wore though the seasons. This sparked an idea to do something similar due to Tech starting to get into the world of one-off uniforms. One year later and with the help from a friend, we finished the Virginia Tech version. The immediate response from fans varied from "This is completely awesome," to "Thanks for making my day less productive."

It's had a good run, but it's about to get an overhaul.

After finding a new template on Chris Creamer's Sportslogos forum, I thought it would be time to make a new uniform builder. With the help of a friend here in Salem, it will be easier to use on a phone and each element will be able to be scrolled through. But the best part will be the historical database.

Every uniform combination in the Frank Beamer era will be available to view with just a few clicks. That means every number style, every helmet stripe and every bowl patch. A neat thing about researching these uniforms was seeing how the first few bowl games featured a brand new jersey not worn during the regular season. A small company named Sports Belle made the bowl jerseys from 1993 to 1995 while the normal uniforms were made by Wilson.

Here's a sample of some of four of the early Beamer-era bowl games.

Hopefully the new Unibuilder will be ready for launch the weekend before Thanksgiving. There's still a few elements remaining to be made, but I will post a few more samples in the coming weeks.

This week's desktop features James Gayle. Hopefully he and the rest of the defense can take down the 'Canes this Saturday night.

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Saturday also marks the first Tech basketball game. Sure, last season was rough at the end, but it's always a good time in Cassell from now until March. Tech may not win a ton of games, but they'll be competitive. We all know how close games can be - I've already lost several months off of my life because of Tech games over the years.

See you in Cassell on Saturday! Stay cool.

Martinsville Speedway - A Second Home

October 28, 2013

Time. It comes. It goes. Games are won or lost, but time never stops.

Last week I thought back to why I love going to Martinsville Speedway so much. It was the week leading up to another NASCAR weekend at the speedway, but something triggered in my mind that this was more than just another race weekend. This marked 20 years since my first ever race.

Friday afternoon I made a trip back to my parents' house and skimmed through old photo albums and found photos from that day. Sitting there in the attic with the one dim light bulb, it took me back.

The day was October 17, 1993. The NASCAR Busch Series ran the Advance Auto Parts 500. The memories are fuzzy, mainly because I was only eight years old, but I remember meeting the drivers, seeing the brightly colored cars up close, smelling the gas fumes and exhaust and feeling the roar of the engines in my chest. It was a sensory overload seeing it in person after watching it only on television.

Honestly, I don't remember much of the race. Now I can log onto YouTube and see the crazy finish won by Chuck Bown. But as I watch the racing from a computer screen, the racing remains the same. Today, the cars are still amazing colors, the fumes and exhaust are still there and when the cars roar by, you still feel it inside your chest.

Some people will never be race fans, and that's OK. There isn't much entertainment in watching cars drive in a circle for 4 hours if that's your only viewpoint. To others, it's that sensory overload. It's the action at every corner, the battles for position, the pit road strategy...and the occasional wreck or two. Some of that you just can't get from a television screen. It's what brings me back, almost like home.

It's hard to believe that first race was 20 years ago. So much time has passed, including a three-year stint working for NASCAR in Charlotte. My favorite driver has been retired for six years now and there is not one guy I pull for on a consistent basis. I pull for great racing, great strategy and most of all - A great finish.

There really isn't much to say about the Duke game this past weekend. There's too much talent on this year's Hokie squad to lose a game 13-10 at home, especially to Duke. This game sure was tough to swallow, but there's still at least four games remaining and winning the division isn't out of the question. Tech's defense will keep them in every game the rest of the way, which is why Bud Foster is featured on this week's desktop.

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Several people asked me what my thoughts were on the all-orange uniforms. The two school colors have really taken on a tradition at Tech since joining the ACC in 2004. Maroon has been the football color and Orange has been the basketball color.

Regardless - Uniforms don't win or lose games.

Stay cool.

Welcome to the new cruhland.com

October 21, 2013

Last week I hinted that this week's update would look a little different. Well, it's a whole lot different. Thanks to the help of my buddy, Scott Wade from the City of Salem Technology Department, this is the brand new cruhland.com.

The site itself may have a new look, but everything from the previous site has been carried over, including the famous Unibuilder. The best part about the site is that it is now mobile friendly. That means when you pull it up on your phone, it will work great and be formatted for easy reading.

Tech's bye week seemed to be the perfect time to roll out the new site. Somehow I got a little confused and ended up at the Duke/UVA game. Honestly, I wanted to find out what it was like to go to a game that started at 3:30 instead of Noon. It sure was entertaining to watch UVA take off early and then see Duke make the right adjustments in the second half and drop all those unanswered points in Charlottesville. Duke is one fired up team after that win, but their offense really will struggle against the Hokies. We can all hope that Tech's offense continues to make strides every week.

With the site update came a big update of my résumé page. Be sure to hop on over there and check out some of the latest projects including the 2013 Lane Stadium cup designs and several different Virginia Tech sport posters. Also added are links to all of the editions of the Salem Magazine since starting there in the summer of 2011. Hard to believe it's been over 2 years since starting in Salem.

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So take a look around, maybe drain a little time on the Unibuilder and see how it looks on your phone. Let me know what you think.

Stay cool.

Crossing into the racing world

October 14, 2013

Saturday sure was interesting with the Tech defense doing what they do best. Despite the late touchdown, it was amazing to see how they made Pittsburgh look pedestrian despite their early-season success.

With just a few minutes left in the game, my buddy Brian and I left the game early, but for good reason. We loaded up and took off early to get a head start for the NASCAR race in Charlotte that night. Talk about a perfect day - Tech football AND a Cup race.

That combo is heading full circle when the Hokies take on Tennessee in 2016 at Bristol Motor Speedway. When the rumors began to spread last week, I hopped on Google Maps and made this quick mock-up of the speedway with the field to give a little comparison to how small the field will look in the infield. Somehow it ended up on ESPNU's broadcast during the Pitt game.

It's pretty neat that this game is going to happen. There's been talk for quite some time but it seemed to have died about 6 or 7 years ago. But things popped up this past week and the excitement level kept rising. To think that a crowd of 140,000+ could be at a Tech game would be unheard of 15 or so years ago.

So it's a slight cross with NASCAR and Tech football. Seemed like it needed a little graphic design.

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Well, this is the last update on this current website. Next week may look just a touch different.

Stay cool.

Tech Football...and a little Hoops

October 7, 2013

That sure was a warm October afternoon when the Hokies played North Carolina. The combination of that and the noon start led to great tailgating before and after the game.

Walking back to the tailgate, our group realized that Tech had just won its fifth game. That fifth victory came much, much later last year - An overtime win at Boston College the week before Thanksgiving.

I find it funny that several fans were somewhat disappointed that the Hokies went with the standard maroon helmet, maroon jersey and white pants look this past weekend. It's the classic look. The only thing that should be changed is the white pants with the stripes down the side.

On another note, it's a month away from basketball season starting up. I was asked to do a redesign of the Cassell Guard logo into more of a shield this year. It came out looking pretty good despite not actually using a basketball and using a net instead. I remembered seeing a similar net design a few years back and thought it would look cool here. Look for it on the student section shirts this season. It's still pretty neat to see one of my designs on a t-shirt.

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Who's ready for another morning tailgate? At least we're all experienced at it by now.

Stay cool.

Hokiestone helmets & new friends in Georgia

September 30, 2013

Georgia Tech has always been one of my favorite stops on the ACC schedule. The combo of memorable games, the long drives and the Frosted Orange drink at The Varsity play a part in it.

This trip was no different last week. GT fans had this game circled on their schedule, but they showed up a little late and the Hokies jumped on top before they could even get seated. There was a small, but rowdy group of Tech fans that made the trip in the corner. We tried to make as much noise as we could down there, which was fun as the game closed out.

How about those Hokiestone helmets? The detail was tough to tell from the stands, but the photos looked good and people liked them on TV.

Many, many people asked my thoughts of the helmet design. I thought they looked good, but not because of the design, but because they are unique to Virginia Tech. The helmet decal was a bit of a debate, but the 1872 pylon logo fits that theme. Before the decal was announced, I made a few mockups to see what people would like to see. Surprisingly the pylons got the best response, so good call by the football staff.

Perhaps the only addition that needs to be made is a stripe down the center to hide the awkward seam where the stone design meets. Maroon would be sharp.

Along with the Georgia Tech game, several buddies and I made the short trip to Athens for the LSU/Georgia game. The trip included College Gameday and checking out campus and downtown Athens. Wearing a Virginia Tech shirt and hat, some people looked at my friends and me like we were from a foreign country, but were happy the Hokies took down their rival from the ACC. It was a welcome reception, no doubt.

This was a HUGE game for Georgia and the stadium was rocking. It was a great day for college football, but things seemed a bit empty. The fans were only loud in really crucial situations and continued to sit and stand throughout the whole game.

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It was an awesome time in Athens, but it reiterates that Lane Stadium is one of the best places to watch a college football game in the country. Never, ever take that for granted.

Stay cool.