WEST POINT — "Black Knights" stays, but the Black Knight goes when it comes to Army athletics.
Make that "Army West Point" athletics.
Both moves are part of a rebranding effort announced here Monday night at Eisenhower Hall in a ceremony that was part press conference, part laser show (complete with fog machines) and part "Project Runway," with representatives from some of the school's athletic teams modeling new uniforms.
Before the uniforms came the big reveal: The "Athena Shield," which will take the place of the sword-wielding Black Knight-behind-the-"A" logo that still adorned Michie Stadium's midfield stripe as of Monday night.
It features a helmet, sword and star on a shield background in traditional gold and black colors, a design meant to be "evocative" of the history of West Point, said Col. Ty Seidule, head of West Point's history department, who worked closely with Nike marketing and design staffers during the 18-month rebranding process.
"They wanted to understand who we are," Seidule said. "They wanted to know us at a DNA level."
The "Army Stencil" lettering, part of West Point's athletic rebranding.
Photo Credit: Army Athletics
Contradicting reports prior to the announcement, the athletic department will continue to use "Black Knights" as a nickname, along with "Cadets" and "The Corps" on a case-by-case basis, officials at the event said.
"You are embodying the Black Knight on the field," athletic director Boo Corrigan said, but "your mission is not just to be a Black Knight."
The rebranding included input from virtually every segment of the greater West Point community, officials said: Current and former cadets, historians, coaches and more participated in the process.
The new logo takes its basic design from the West Point crest.
Photo Credit: Army
Cadets and other attendees received a T-shirt with the new branding following the event. The athletic department's release on the rebranding includes everything from details on the new "Army Stencil" font (or "identity typography") to a breakdown of the colors used in the designs — shades of gray, black and gold that "draws inspiration from the components of gunpowder, the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) and the Long Gray Line."
Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen was the event's first featured speaker, entering the stage to the "Rocky" theme and a roaring crowd of cadets. Before he left the stage, he'd guaranteed a victory over Navy, though he didn't offer specifics on which sport or which year.
Reaction from the Naval Academy — "Navy Annapolis"? — came online before the Eisenhower Hall event let out.
Navy has an apparel deal with UnderArmour.
Todd Van Horne, vice president and creative director for Nike Football and Baseball, was on hand at West Point on Monday, explaining his company's commitment to representing West Point's legacy within its branding.
"The history came alive," during the process, Van Horne said. "We really wanted this [design] to tell that story."
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.