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Out with the old, in with the new: Pitt script makes its return

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Nathan Peterman (4), Jordan Whitehead (33) and Adam Bisnowaty (69) show off the new Pitt football uniforms. Matt Hawley | Staff Photographer

Nathan Peterman (4), Jordan Whitehead (33) and Adam Bisnowaty (69) show off the new Pitt football uniforms. Matt Hawley | Staff Photographer

Nathan Peterman (4), Jordan Whitehead (33) and Adam Bisnowaty (69) show off the new Pitt football uniforms. Matt Hawley | Staff Photographer

By Steve Rotstein / Sports Editor

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After 20 years, the Pitt script’s scrawling lettering and vintage design is back –– with a twist.

With the Petersen Events Center lobby jam-packed with people, the Athletic Department unveiled brand new uniforms for Pitt’s 19 varsity athletic teams all emblazoned with the cursive Pitt script logo on Wednesday night.

The script fell victim to a messy rebranding effort under former Athletic Director Steve Pederson. It was almost universally beloved by fans — who were not happy when Pederson did away with it in the 1990s.

Many have clamored for its return, which is why Athletic Director Scott Barnes and the rest of the department created such a buzz for the unveiling. Backed by a pop music soundtrack, flashing lights and about 500 people in attendance, the script made its long-overdue return.

While the script in itself is a throwback, the new uniforms are a modern take on an old tradition — minimalist and with brighter colors than the mustard yellow and dullish blue of yesteryear.

Pitt women’s head basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said that since her hire in 2013, she has heard constantly about the Pitt script from fans and alumni alike.

“This is an exciting night, for the unveiling, and it was very special for the athletes that modeled,” McConnell-Serio said. “I think for the Pitt fans, who are so in love with the script … it’s tradition, it’s the history of Pitt, and so I think it’s really exciting that we’re going back to it.”

The new women's basketball uniforms. Matt Hawley | Staff Photographer

The new women’s basketball uniforms. Matt Hawley | Staff Photographer

Two players from 18 of the teams walked out sporting their new home and away uniforms. For the football team, quarterback Nathan Peterman, cornerback Jordan Whitehead and offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty all showed off three new looks for the Panthers.

The script was featured on Pitt’s football helmets for homecoming 2014 and stuck around, but with block lettering still on the team’s jerseys as well as the logo at midfield.

Along with the new navy blue-and-gold home jerseys and white-and-navy blue away jerseys, the Panthers revealed a new matte blue-and-gold alternate helmet, handpicked by the players.

After the cheerleaders — clad in solid white and blue uniforms — and dancers made their debuts, wrestlers Dom Forys and TeShan Campbell showed off the new Nike brand singlets. The singlets feature an image of the Cathedral of Learning with the letters “H2P” on the back.

While he didn’t have as much of a say in the design as former head coach Johnny Majors –– who handpicked the original Pitt script logo back in 1973 –– head football coach Pat Narduzzi was certainly privy to the new look.

“I love them, I’ve seen them for a while. It’s not really new to me,” Narduzzi said. “But I’m excited about it and I know our kids are extremely excited about not only what they look like, but the feel of them.”

Narduzzi said the players were unhappy with the pants they wore last season because they wanted something lighter. The players who modeled the jerseys Wednesday night seemed pleased with the improvements.

“Love the feel of them, love the look of them, everything about them,” Peterman said. “You can really open up your stride and run a little bit better in these.”

The new men's basketball uniforms. Matt Hawley | Staff Photographer

The new men’s basketball uniforms. Matt Hawley | Staff Photographer

While the coaches may have gotten an advance look at the new uniforms, star forward Jamel Artis had no idea the basketball team would be receiving a script logo until today.

“I put the jersey on and I’m like, ‘Oh, what’s going on?,’” Artis said.

Like the football players, the rising senior approved of the new uniforms for more than just aesthetics.

“It feels good, and it’s comfortable … I wanna play right now,” Artis said.

Along with the streamlined new uniforms, Barnes also revealed some specifics for the multi-million dollar renovations being made to the University’s athletic facilities.

Along with updating the center-court logo, the 14-year-old Petersen Events Center will receive an entirely new hardwood floor, among other changes. New turf is being installed at the South Side football facility along with a new front desk and entrance, and $4 million alone will go into a renovation of the swimming facilities at Trees Hall.

Pitt’s redshirt senior quarterback may have summed up the prevailing feeling best at the event.

“Hey, when you look good, you play good. That’s my motto,” Peterman said.

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Out with the old, in with the new: Pitt script makes its return