“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”
-President Gerald Ford, August 9th, 1974
It was 374 days ago that I brought you the first of two ballads laying out the horrendous impacts that Russell Athletic has on Georgia Tech’s branding, and on its athletic programs overall. It was a little over four months ago that I acquired and published the contract binding the Yellow Jackets with their outdated apparel “partners”. It was 64 days ago that new AD Todd Stansbury confirmed that partnership would be ending in the near future.
On Tuesday, we got final confirmation that the Russell Athletic era at Georgia Tech is about to be over. The moment it ends is the same moment that the adidas era will begin on the Flats.
The change should be a positive one in every way — the three-stripe brand will be an upgrade that helps to boost perception among recruits (across all sports), helps to bolster apparel sales among fans, and serves as a strong partner as the GTAA administration continues to solidify its visual branding.
Speaking of which, it should also be mentioned that this move to a new apparel provider is indicative of a new era on the Flats in more ways than one. While this is the first major move made by Todd Stansbury in terms of financial impact to his athletic department, it’s just the latest in a series of decisions and moves Stansbury’s made so far that are incredibly encouraging for the future. In under nine months on the job, this is yet another problem that Stansbury has identified and taken action to improve upon. It’s a refreshing change from Stansbury’s predecessor, who took several years just to identify some internal issues that faced the department (despite how minimally they seemed to move the needle in the court of public perception). The guy before that was personally responsible for extending the Russell contract that clearly put Georgia Tech behind the curve, only to leave for Clemson less than three months later, while the guy before him was responsible for a contract the department still hasn’t finished paying off, even though the recipient hasn’t coached the men’s basketball team in over 6 years.
Plain and simple: Stansbury is a perceptive, active, visible, and responsive athletic director like Georgia Tech hasn’t had in the last 20 years. Without a major change in his constraints, Stansbury has rapidly taken considerable steps to elevate the athletic department from the inside out, and every move he’s made inspires more confidence in his ability to increase Georgia Tech’s profile on the national stage in the years to come.
The new uniforms, new apparel, and revamped visual brand are all going to make for an extremely exciting time to be a Yellow Jacket fan. The large-scale trend that this change is a part of is going to make it fun to be a Georgia Tech fan for years to come.