Arizona’s helmet collection lacks red, once the dominant color before the 1980′sby Javier Morales on May. 25, 2012, under Sports
Javier Morales took first place in the 2010 Arizona Press Club’s Metro Sports Reporting category. For a different look at University of Arizona sports, check out Javier’s unique Web site: WILDABOUTAZCATS.net
The red helmet was the dominant color for Arizona as the Wildcats wore it nine out of 13 seasons before 1981, Larry Smith’s second season as head coach.
The only break was a four-year stint in which former coach Jim Young introduced the white helmet with the snake “UA” from 1973 to 1976.
The Wildcats wore exclusively white helmets after Smith’s first season, through the Dick Tomey regime and the John Mackovic experiment, ending in 2003. Mike Stoops unveiled the navy blue helmet — Arizona’s first attempt with that color — in 2004. Since then, the Wildcats have alternated between the white and navy blue lids.
Now comes copper in this crazed helmet-changing society we live in. Copper? Citing the state’s history with copper mining, Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne announced this week that the Wildcats will wear a copper helmet for at least one game in 2012.
A smattering of fans are seeing red over this (no pun intended), but the majority like Byrne’s idea. A poll at my Web site — WildAboutAZCats.net — indicates the approval of copper with most fans in favor of repeated use of that helmet. By clicking on the link, you can also view Arizona’s red helmets worn in 1972 under Bob Weber and from 1977 to 1979 under Tony Mason.
The progressive-minded Byrne has indicated that he is in favor of experimenting with novel ideas as long as they make sense.
He has engineered the UA’s road tours, taking along Wildcat head coaches to different Arizona towns to drum up support. He has embraced social media, offering his own weekly blogs on Wednesdays. He was open to new coach Rich Rodriguez’s idea to install artificial turf in Arizona Stadium starting in the 2013 season.
Is he open to Arizona trying the red helmet once again? Time will tell. Judging from Byrne’s enterprising behavior, it is probably a foregone conclusion.