MCGILL: Holliday Adds Player Names To Back Of Football Uniforms|
April 28, 2017
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The football uniforms at Marshall will be the same in 2017, with one addition.
The last names of the players will be added to the back of the jersey, a decision made by eighth-year head coach Doc Holliday.
“We are doing it primarily for two reasons,” Holliday said. “First, after last season, we believed it was important to evaluate all aspects of our football program, and one of the issues we spent a lot of time on is accountability. I’ve said it before, but there’s no hiding in this program, and whether you’re on the field with that uniform on or off the field in the classroom and in our community, you will be held accountable.
“Also, and this is equally important to me, but this program belongs to our passionate fan base. On more than one occasion over the past four seasons, fans have let me know they would appreciate it if the last names were added to the back of the uniforms again. We believed, at the time, that we needed to remove the names to promote team unity and to let our kids know that we play for the name on the front of the jersey and not the individual on the back.
“That is still our philosophy, but we feel we can accomplish that team concept along with a new message to our players, while re-introducing names on our jerseys.”
Holliday initially made the move on Aug. 22, 2013, announcing that the names would be removed at the Paint the Capital City Green event at Embassy Suites in Charleston.
“There will be one name on that jersey,” Holliday said nearly four years ago, referring to the “Marshall” and “The Herd” that appears above the numbers on the front of the uniform.
There were, obviously, many reasons Marshall enjoyed success in the seasons after that announcement, but Holliday’s move was immediately followed by impressive results. The Thundering Herd posted three consecutive 10-win campaigns, captured a Conference USA championship (2014), recorded a 33-8 overall record over those three seasons and made the program’s first trip into the Associated Press Top 25 since 2002.
Marshall has a lengthy history with and without names on its football uniforms.
Surnames first graced the backs of the jerseys in the 1991 Division I-AA national championship game against Youngstown State, a 25-17 loss. Before the 2013 season opener against Miami University, Marshall had played 274 consecutive games with names on uniforms, including 10 double-digit win seasons.
Holliday’s Herd finished 10-4, 13-1 and 10-3 the first three seasons without names on the jerseys, and Holliday used the names as a bowl game incentive. Marshall is 4-0 in bowl games under Holliday with names on the back of jerseys.