When college athletics resume, the University of Virginia will be sporting a refreshed look that includes and updated primary logo and new secondary marks.
The University says this is the culmination of an 18-month collaboration with Nike, along with the school’s coaches and student-athletes, to modernize the look of Cavaliers athletics.
The primary logo remains an orange-and-blue V with crossed sabres beneath it. The mark features bolder lines and beveled edges, giving what the school calls added weight, power, and a dynamic presence.
A brand new secondary logo is called the Cavalier Shield. It resembles a coat of arms. The top of the shield is shaped like the Rotunda – a famous building on the UVA campus. Inside the shield, an overhead view of a hat with a feather is featured, along with the sabres from the primary logo.
The Cavalier itself is the other secondary logo. The same hat from the shield is featured, along with the rest of the mascot’s body. The hat is tipped so you cannot see its face; the university says this was done to represent all members of the University community – regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, or background. To top it off, the mascot has its arms crossed with a sabre in each hand. The mascot is different shades of blue, outlined in orange.
“I noticed our logo sometimes gets washed out in comparison to the other logos in the ACC,” Director of Athletics Carla Williams said in a press release. “The Cavalier mark is a symbol of strength, character, mystery, integrity, and diversity. It’s one of those unique marks that in short time will become very popular and synonymous with everything that we Cavaliers aspire to be.”
After the logo was unveiled, there was scrutiny on the detail added to the grip of the sabres. A serpentine feature was meant to signify the serpentine walls on the Charlottesville campus, but it was brought to the school’s attention that the walls at the school were originally designed to hide slaves from public view. Due to this, the handles were smoothed out.
The school has primarily been in the national spotlight thanks to its men’s basketball team over the past decade – for both historically good and bad reasons.
“After the release of our new logos on [April 24], I was made aware of the negative connotation between the serpentine walls and slavery,” Williams said in a statement from the athletic department. “I was not previously aware of the historical perspective. … There was no intent to cause harm, but we did, and for that I apologize to those who bear the pain of slavery in our history.”
Pete Gillen and Dave Leitao each led the Cavs to one NCAA tournament appearance in the first decade of the 2000s. Current head coach Tony Bennett took over in 2009-10 and has led the Hoos to a postseason berth in eight of his 10 full seasons (not counting the 2019-20 season that saw the NCAA Tournament canceled due to the spread of coronavirus). Virginia was a No. 1 seed in the tournament in 2014, ’16, and ’18, but failed to reach the Final Four each time. In 2016, the Cavs blew a 20-point lead to 10-seed Syracuse in the Elite Eight round, and in 2018, Virginia became the first top-seed in tournament history to lose to a 16-seed when they were blown out by the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 74-54.
In 2019, the Cavs rebounded from that adversity by winning the first National Championship in school history, fueled by stars De’Andre Hunter, Kyle Guy, and Ty Jerome. Guy hit three late free throws to defeat Auburn in a national semifinal, and UVA topped Texas Tech in overtime, dominating the extra session in an 85-77 victory to become the first first-time NCAA champion since the University of Florida in 2006.
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