ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Throwback Uniforms To Mix and Match Eras
At a time when its future looks awfully bright, the New Mexico men’s basketball team is giving its fans a little glimpse of the past.
Saturday afternoon is being billed as Old School Saturday, and the Lobos (19-4, 5-2) will wear new uniforms that touch on a lot of old looks for its Mountain West Conference game against Wyoming (18-5, 4-3).
“We’re pretty excited about it,” UNM coach Steve Alford said at Wednesday’s news conference, during which his three seniors modeled the new duds. “It’s something that’s kind of been on our minds for the last couple of years.
Wyoming at UNM, 1:30 p.m. TV: The mtn. (DirectTV 616, Comcast 276). Radio: KKOB-AM (770)
“We really hadn’t got around to it because of so many other things we’re trying to do with the program. … More than a retro uniform, instead of trying to do an actual uniform, is trying to do an old-school throwback and try to cover as many eras as we could. With this uniform in logo and colors, I think we incorporated about three decades.
“The retro uniform got thrown out, because had we gone with the short shorts, I probably wouldn’t have been able to field a team going into the Wyoming game.”
The uniforms have a Lobo logo that was used in the 1960s and ’70s. They are white, cherry and silver with a touch of turquoise – the latter being the primary color in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
During the 2002-03 season, the Lobos had a set of uniforms that included a hint of turquoise, a color many fans have said they want to see as the primary color again. In 2005, the Lobos wore all-turquoise jerseys for one game.
Alford said there was some discussion about doing all-turquoise again, but those uniforms represented “only a certain era. By doing the things we’re doing, with red and turquoise and the logo – the old-school Louie Lobo – I think that incorporates a little bit more with just one uniform.”
The primarily turquoise uniforms were worn during the Norm Ellenberger-coached era that included the 1977-78 team ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation – but also by the 1979-80 team that was rocked by the Lobogate scandal that led to Ellenberger’s firing and decimated the program.
Replicas of Saturday’s uniforms are available online at golobos.com and loboden.unm.edu, and will be available at the game. T-shirts with the new logo are also for sale.
TEAM TO BEAT? The Lobos have won four straight games by an average of 26 points, have pulled into a tie for second with 14th-ranked UNLV (21-4, 5-2) and are a game behind 13th-ranked San Diego State (20-3, 6-1) heading into the second half of league play.
During Monday’s teleconference, some of the MWC coaches talked about UNM as being the hottest team in the league.
So, are the Lobos the team to beat in the conference?
“They obviously said that at the beginning of the year,” Alford says of the preseason media poll that picked UNM as the huge favorite. “Then they probably changed their minds a little bit. Regardless of media, fans, coaches, our players know they have to play the games. I hope, what they’ve learned, not just through these seven (league) games, or the (recent) 13-day stretch, or more importantly, through the 23-game schedule we’ve played … you’ve got to take it one day at a time.
“It’s always been improve and get better. I think we’re a better basketball team right now than when we went to Wyoming to start the conference season (a 72-62 UNM win). It doesn’t mean we’re going to win as many games. But I am pleased, and I think we’re a better basketball team now than we were then.”
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal