Awesome Sports Logos Blog

Sports Logos Spotlight on the Duke Blue Devils

Few college basketball brands are more powerful than that of Duke University. Few programs can out-namedrop icons like Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, and of course “Coach K”. Throw in the 4th most wins of all-time, 16 final four appearances, and – after their 68 – 63 win over Wisconsin recently it's now 5 national championships, even less can boast of having more success.
Winning (and players like Laettner) often breeds contempt. And while Duke has fans all over the country, they’ve also created LEGIONS of haters.

But forget whether you love or loathe the Dukies. Instead, ask yourself this: “How . . . and WHY . . . did a small, private, Methodist University in the Bible Belt give itself the nickname Blue Devils?



It’s a great question. The answer? Even better.

Per Duke’s online library, the term “Blue Devils” was first used in France. It was a nickname for the “Chasseurs Alpins”, a unit of French Soldiers in World War 1 who fought near the French Alps. Their uniforms were . . . extravagant. They wore berets. And they wore capes.

After the United States entered WW1, some French “Blue Devils” went around the country trying to raise money. Irving Berlin – one of the greatest songwriters in US history - actually wrote a song about them. Here are the closing lyrics:

"Strong and active, most attractive
Are the Blue Devils
They came here the Liberty Loan to advance
We entertained them with the best
And now they've gone back to the trenches to rest
Those Devils, the Blue Devils of France"

So how did the name Blue Devils end up in Durham North Carolina? Trinity College didn't have a school nickname.The student newspaper launched a search campaign. They did want to keep the college color which was dark blue. Ultimately, Blue Devils took home the first prize beating out other candidates like the Blue Titans, Blue Eagles and Blue Warriors.

Yes, a Trinity College chose the nickname of Blue Devils. And yes, Duke’s nickname actually came from a division of the French Army. 

That answer doesn’t exactly scream “Most Dominant College Basketball Program of All-Time”, does it?

 We realize there are a lot of Duke fans across the country. We also realize there are plenty more who DON’T like Duke. That’s why at Awesome Sports Logos, we have our own version of the Blue Devils. Without any Laettner's. Ladies and Gentleman, the New York Zouaves!


What are the Zouaves? They also have a French connection. The name Zouave actually comes from Algeria and was first used by the French army as they recruited military from the Zouaoua tribe. Zouaves are distinguished by their uniforms which included short open-fronted jackets, baggy trousers and often sashes and oriental headgear. 

The New York Zouaves also known as the 11th New York Infantry took on the Zouaves name, uniforms and drill style during the Civil War. These volunteers actually started fighting immediately occupying Alexandria, Virginia just 24 hours after the state succeeded from the Union. 

If you put a Duke shirt on at this point without any kind of connection, you might be accused of hitching a ride on the Duke bandwagon. No one will accuse you of bandwagon jumping with our Zouaves awesome t-shirt. You’ll be trend-setting.
Thanks as always for reading,
Paul Gallant
Awesome Sports Logos Columnist 

Sports Logo Review of the Michigan State Spartans

I really like Michigan State's 'Spartan' logo. I just don't know why, exactly...

Does it feature unique detail? No.

Do the colors complement the graphic? Umm, you mean 'color', singular? And no.

Maybe the symbolism makes is special., it doesn't.

I've noted before how the road to simplicity often includes great detail along the way. These are the logos I tend to prefer--the ones that aren't all over the place like a fight scene in Transformers--but still include complexities that make it more than just the combination of geometric shapes.

MSU's 'Spartan' has got the simple part covered, but nothing more. Despite this, there's something about it that I enjoy. After looking at it for several minutes, I think I finally figured it out...

A logo's emotions or actions remain frozen in time, no matter whether it's team wins or loses or whether it sees you as a fan or an enemy. Yet, that doesn't mean our emotions are void of vacillation.

For instance, if your team loses a heartbreaker, chances are you won't react favorably to the victorious team's logo. Maybe your friend is an obnoxiously ardent fan of a particular squad and when you look at their logo it just spews annoyance. Whatever the case, our familiarity with the work of those who wear the logo can play a role. Yet, for me, this isn't often the case and that's why it's taken me so long to realize why I like the Spartan.

I have a lot of respect for the Michigan State basketball program and the success it's achieved under their charismatic coach, Tom Izzo. After spending two years covering Michigan State athletics, that respect grew and that same respect for the football program was born.

The old-school Spartan graphic is cool and I like green, but I don't "love" either. But when I look at the logo, it personifies respect and success and that's why I like it.

What can I say? I look at most logos more analytically. I think the Green Spartan emanates fear in its opponents on the hardwood and with its growing gridiron reputation for physical, blue-collar defenses; I think it's doing the same on Saturdays in the fall. And while the marriage between school and nickname is nothing more than the product of a contest, that doesn't compromise the long Greek history of the Spartan warrior.

Maybe it’s the personal connection, but there are some logos you look at and think, "Cool!" and that is the MSU Spartan for me.

Awesome Sports Logos has several of these logos. Simple but they tell a story as well. Each sports logo has local meaning, many featuring great history. Check out their awesome t-shirts.


Thanks for reading,

Jared Sandler

Awesome Sports Logos Columnist

College Coaches Deserve Promotions Just Like You

A promotion. Before children learn about upward mobility, signing bonuses, or entry-level positions, the concept of a promotion is engrained in their mind. Before they grow up and things get more complicated, kids know that a promotion is good and that Mommy and Daddy want one. 
Ambition and motivation make our country and many others so special and allow for growth and improvement. We encourage it from an early age and reinforce its importance through teaching, branding, entertainment, literature, and more. Reach for the stars, Just do it, and Pursuit of Happyness to name a few. Yet, why do we frown upon those in the sports world who simply do as they--scratch that, we--were all taught? 
When a college football coach leads a program to success and then leaves for what is unquestionably a better opportunity, everyone is up in arms about that coach's "sleaziness," or his lack of loyalty. 
James Franklin recently accepted the Head Coaching position at Penn State University after three years at Vanderbilt. He took the Commodores from SEC obscurity to national relevancy. Under Franklin, they went to consecutive bowl games for the first time in the schools history. He helped give that University a program to be proud of. He earned a "promotion." While Penn State isn't a step up within the same company, do we expect young, ambitious coaches like Franklin to remain at a job if there are better opportunities out there? 
"These coaches have no loyalty to these Universities!"
You're right, because it is okay for a manager of a department store to change jobs because the new opportunity offers three times more in annual salary, but it isn't okay for a coach to do the same. Even if it isn't three times as much, but merely a 10% raise, we encourage that. We encourage upward growth. 
And what if the new opportunity allows the coach a better opportunity to achieve and reach his goals? Let's tell them, "Sorry, coach, I know all you want is to win a National Championship, but you are a terrible person if you make a decision to try and help yourself do that."
A number of factors play into these moves and these are the same factors we encourage our sons and daughters to consider when they weigh their own opportunities. Oh, yeah, and these are the same factors that these coaches' players will consider when they enter the real world. 
"And these guys have the nerve to say they care about the kids..."
Easily my least favorite and most ignorant comment of them all. Unless we expect these coaches to never ever leave unless they are fired, they are always going to leave a group of kids behind. Ask any coach and the good ones will tell you that this is the toughest part of the job. These coaches dedicate hours upon hours working to help these kids, whether directly or indirectly, often times choosing to do so at the expense of their own kids or family. They deserve a round of applause if they get the opportunity to make a decision for themselves or their family, not the taste of tomatoes in their face. 
"Do contracts mean nothing anymore"?
Yes, college coaches often sign contract extensions only to leave within a year or two and several years shy of that contract's agreed upon commitment. But these contract extensions benefit the University as much as it does the coach. While they typically offer the coach a raise, it offers the program a better foundation upon which to recruit. What if a coach spent an hour telling you how great their school is, only to end with: "But we'll only be together for the first year because my contract is up and this school doesn't have the confidence in me to bring me back so you'll have a new coach and I don't know who it will be...he may not even fit your playing style, but come to our school!"
Basic Math: Better recruits = better program. Better program = more revenue. More revenue helps the University. Thus, if a contract extension helps recruiting and if better recruiting helps the University, it is clear that these extensions are better for both parties.
"But the player's can't leave!"
This is a separate issue that should not reflect negatively upon ambitious coaches, rather, the NCAA's rules regarding transfers. Don't blame the coaches for this...two wrongs don't make a right. 
So Vanderbilt fans (Franklin) and Boise State fans (Chris Peterson) and all other fan bases whose head football coach left for greener pastures, why don't you take the time to applaud the coach for what he brought your favorite program and your favorite University. Or, continue to turn your back on these coaches and resort to slander and criticism but then ask yourself, Who is the disloyal one now? 
Thanks for reading and remember, our number one goal here is to bring back the fun and creativity back to sports logos with our awesome t-shirts. Support the cause and grab yourself a super soft cool t-shirt. We guarantee it will become a quick favorite in your closet. 
Jared Sandler
Awesome Sports Logos Columnist 

Rutgers Athletics From Bad Publicity to Worse

When the Scarlet Knights dismissed basketball coach Mike Rice and appointed Julie Hermann as Athletic Director, they couldn’t have possibly seen this coming. Less than a New York minute had passed since the University cleaned house when allegations involving Hermann arose. If you believe the reports, Hermann has just as much baggage as former coach Mike Rice. While this story hasn’t reached the Federal level, it’s starting to become “Penn State bad” for Rutgers. Hermann denies all allegations but Governor Chris Christie has said that he’s going to ask questions and state legislator Richard Codey says that the situation is becoming, “Comedy Central”. There’s no question that the school can’t afford this. The real question is; “Is there any hope on the horizon for Rutgers and what its logo represents?”

There’s not exactly a history of benchmarks to cite when assessing the Scarlet Knights’ situation. The high points for the Athletic program this century are on a proverbial short list. Storming the field during (current Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach) Greg Schiano’s tenure and harboring current superstar Ray Rice briefly come to mind. Even Happy Valley (while tarnished) has a legacy to present to recruits.

Rutgers had to have high, if tempered hopes when they hired Hermann. Not to swing the sword of sexism, but hiring a woman of her stature suggests sentiments like care, no-nonsense, and precision. Unfortunately, Hermann’s credentials now include a damning letter and consequent press conference.

Rutgers will no doubt forge onward vetting every potential hire and move, leaving no room for error, maybe. It’s a bit shocking they missed this issue in the first place. Regardless, the Scarlett Knights have no choice but clean this filthy tile with an electric toothbrush boosted by nitrous oxide.

At this point, the Rutgers emblem represents little, if nothing of merit. There’s little hope that this will change anytime soon. The only axiom that can save the Rutgers logo at this point is the age old adage, “ Winning Takes Care of Everything”. Best of luck to you in the W column, Scarlet Knights.

Jake Springer
Awesome Sports Logos Columnist

Awesome Sports Logos College Edition

We’re all familiar with the logos that have become synonymous with college sports. Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma; these schools carry logos that are instantly recognizable and printed all over awesome t-shirts in America. What else do these logos have in common? They’re incredibly boring. One letter, one color, one glance. Awesome Sports Logos has decided to bring you some college logos that will make you take a second look. Some of them are plain awesome and some of them are awesomely bad. In either case, the following logos deserve to be in your line of sight.

#5: Mississippi Valley State

The Delta Devils logo is elaborate, but also very badass. While the full picture might be hard to fit on a helmet or jersey, it’s perfect for an awesome t-shirt. Check out that devil. This satanic superhero strikes fear into opposing teams and meek web bloggers alike. On that note, I’ll move on.



#4: Youngstown State

Youngstown State is not only the former home of Jim Tressel, it’s the current home of the most awesome penguin alive. Screw the zoo. Forget the aquarium. Penguins belong on campus. Kudos YSU.



#3: Utah State

Similar to other schools with the “Aggie” moniker, Utah State employs a mascot that doesn’t fit its nickname. Yes, this bull is impressive. But he’s also a bit surly. I wonder if the character on Utah State’s logo isn’t having some lady problems.



#2: Prairie View A&M

This one belongs in the “awesomely bad” category. I suppose there’s nothing offensive about the panther and the logo, but that’s the problem. There are so many panther mascots and logos in college sports, PVAMU could stand to differentiate themselves a bit. What if the panther carried a dead carcass in its mouth? Or swung a glorious sword of fire? Sadly, this logo’s actually an improvement.



#1: Campbell University

The Campbell Camels get the top spot on this list. This logo is unique, fun, and at the same time slightly dangerous. This Camel amps you up while not inspiring you to buy a pack of smokes. The best part of Campbell’s logo is the Camel’s name: Gaylord. Winning?


We’ll have some more awesome college logos to come in the future. Speaking of Awesome Sports Logos, we need to pay our bills with a shameless plug. Don’t get me wrong, I love all 41 of our logos but this is my favorite. This logo fits in perfect with the college lifestyle. It’s the Cocksville Blockers. This is the top selling awesome t-shirt and for good reason. In fact, it’s so popular that the designers at Awesome Sports Logos were fighting for the right to get this logo gig. We loved their passion so we allowed both of our top designers to give it a try. Here are the awesome results. Support the cause and pick up one of our funny t-shirts.


Thanks for reading and keep being Awesome!

Jake Springer
Awesome Sports Logos Columnist/Passionate T-shirt Wearer


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