Herder: The thing about the new UND logo is...

Sam Herder
UND head football coach Bubba Schweigert gave a passionate speech at the Fighting Hawks logo unveiling ceremony Wednesday, saying his team will embrace the new logo.

Sam Herder

Journal Sports Editor

I debated if I really wanted to do this column. After all, it’s been a year since I graduated from North Dakota State. With that, any opinion I offer about the University of North Dakota is often met with a “says the NDSU grad” response.

But as someone who doesn’t have any emotional investment in how UND does in sports, I figured I’d offer up my opinion on Wednesday’s Fighting Hawks logo unveiling.

Devils Lake is an interesting place to live in North Dakota. I see plenty of UND hockey attire. I also see the same amount of NDSU football attire. But the buzz anywhere I went yesterday into Thursday morning has been about UND’s new logo.

Most of the buzz has been negative.

But the thing about the new UND logo is it was doomed from the start once Fighting Hawks was chosen as the new nickname. Most people tuned into the webstream with the intention of laughing or being angry. No matter how unique or how plain the logo would be, the internet people were prepared to be savages once the press conference started at 11 a.m.

It didn’t help when the press conference began and UND Vice President Peter Johnson couldn’t remember the name of the athletic building they were in, the UND Athletics High Performance Center. It didn’t help when UND President Ed Schafer called it a “great day in America.”

But UND then showed a well-done video talking about the different nicknames the school has had and the success with each one. The end of the video finally showed the new Fighting Hawks logo, met with polite applause from the crowd.

The internet, though, was not clapping.

The storm had begun.

Then something happened. Head football coach Bubba Schweigert closed the press conference with a speech. And let me tell you something, I was ready to run through a wall and purchase all the remaining season tickets when that speech was over.

That speech should be played on a loop in Grand Forks.

Schweigert owned the room. He spit reality at us all. He talked about embracing the new logo. He talked about what the new logo represents. He talked about the vision not changing of bringing home a FCS national championship.

“We’re going to be smart, tough and physical on offense,” Schweigert said. “We’re going to be relentless on defense. And that’s what that logo is going to represent. That logo, when we take the field Sept. 1 out in Stony Brook, is going to be on our helmet. When we come home Sept. 17, we’re going to proudly run out with that logo on our helmet. Because we know who we want to be and what we represent. I will never tell our followers how to feel, how to react. But I will do this: I will lead our football team and challenge our guys day after day to embrace this great time in our university and wear that logo with pride.”

But the thing about the new UND logo is it won’t please everyone. The “Sioux Forever” rallying cry was loud and proud yesterday. Yet, will it actually be forever? Or will the Sioux nickname eventually fade out as generations filter through UND and Fighting Hawks is all they know?

School pride makes sports great. But when hockey fans, former players and even current players blast the new logo and post photos of the former Sioux logo, it doesn’t help the school move forward.

I’m not going to pretend like I know what the passion for UND hockey is like. I’ve never been to a game. It’s probably equal to the passion for NDSU football in Fargo. (Gasp) (Sorry.) (But that’s a little thing called the truth.)

But it’s time to move on. I know it may be tough because...

The thing about the new UND logo is, well, it’s not that great.

Yes, the logo looks like the United States Postal Service bird. It looks even more like the American National Bank bird. (It’s actually identical.) (Look it up.)

Yes, the New York-based SME Branding that got a check for nearly $50,000 could have at least made the hawk look like it will beat up all the other hawks in a fight.

And yes, they could have put feathers on the hawk to satisfy the hockey fanatics. But every time someone sees that logo five, 10 or 20 years from now, the feathers will remind them of the old Sioux logo and what once was.

And that’s the point. The past is the past. It’s a new era for UND Athletics. And for someone who has zero connection to the school, I think the new era looks pretty dang exciting.