Home Team apparel K-State Wildcats: Gene Taylor opens up about Nike contract and uniforms

K-State Wildcats: Gene Taylor opens up about Nike contract and uniforms

0


Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn (22) carries the ball in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, September 4, 2021 (AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez)

Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn (22) carries the ball in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Stanford in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, September 4, 2021 (AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez)

PA

The Kansas State Wildcats have worn a Nike swoosh on their uniforms for over 20 years, and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

Sporting director Gene Taylor said K-State has agreed to a three-year extension with the sportswear company that will keep the Wildcats in Nike gear until at least 2024.

K-State and Nike quietly decided to continue their business relationship last month when their old nine-year contract expired on August 25. should not change significantly.

A copy of K-State’s old clothing contract shows that Nike supplied K-State with nearly $ 2 million in products each year. This Nike product ranges from student athlete shoes and uniforms to athletic staff shirts and jackets, basically everything a member of the Wildcat athletic department needs to look, feel and perform well on game day.

Taylor said K-State opted for a short-term extension with Nike instead of negotiating a longer-term deal or exploring partnering options with other clothing suppliers due to the coronavirus pandemic. At first, they discussed a long-term arrangement. But when COVID arrived, a simpler clothing deal suddenly made more sense.

“Instead of going into a long, drawn out negotiation for a deal extended over a number of years, we just extended it for a few more years with a lot of the same numbers,” Taylor said.

The Wildcats also like to be associated with the Nike brand.

“It’s a good product and they’ve been really good to us,” Taylor said. “They have been a great partner and our coaches always prefer Nike. So, we just went with them.

For now, Taylor seems attached to Nike beyond 2024. But he said the Wildcats may consider other apparel suppliers such as Adidas and Under Armor if those companies show interest in the next one. K-State trading window.

It all depends on how the clothing landscape will look three years from now.

The Big 12 members are expected to receive less money in the form of conference distribution after Oklahoma and Texas leave for the SEC. So it makes sense that K-State would listen to lucrative offers if they arise.

In the meantime, K-State’s extension with Nike brings a popular question back to the fore.

When should fans expect new uniforms for the K-State football team?

Chris Klieman said he intends to mix the casual alternate uniform with the traditional team look of silver pants, purple jerseys and silver helmets. And he delivered his first season wearing all white uniforms at the Liberty Bowl and debuting with a white helmet with the word “Cats” written in script instead of a powercat logo.

The Wildcats have reverted to their classic uniforms for every game since, however. Klieman blamed COVID for this, saying a downsizing has made it much longer than usual to get new products from Nike for now.

But the K-State men’s basketball team have rolled out several new uniforms in recent seasons, including their popular lavender shorts and jerseys (at least with K-State fans). Other Nike football teams have also launched new looks this season.

Superstitions may have played a role. K-State went 8-5 in Klieman’s first year in Manhattan, but many of those five losses came as the Wildcats sported alternate looks.

Taylor isn’t sure when K-State will try something different again.

“That’s a good question,” he said. “Obviously it takes a few years to really change or add a new uniform in terms of design, then manufacturing and stuff. I know they talked about some aspects of what might be there. But this year we have resumed our normal and traditional uniform. I’m not saying that (new uniforms) won’t happen. I think it’s okay. It’s just right now that I think Chris is focusing on staying traditional. It works. But we’ll see what happens from there.

New Nike clothing has become popular in Manhattan in recent years.

So much so that K-State fans complained that there weren’t enough products available for purchase to meet demand. Working with Nike to bring more K-State gear to the market and generate excitement with new designs is a priority for the future.

But they also want to be smart about all the new uniforms they produce with Nike over the next three years.

“We’re going to be mindful not to stray too far from our normal appearance,” Taylor said. “We’re not going to be wearing black anytime soon. We don’t want anything too crazy. This will always be our main colors and look. We want people to know it’s K-State on the court.

Kansas City Star Related Stories

Kellis Robinett covers Kansas State athletics for The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star. Winner of more than a dozen national writing awards, he lives in Manhattan with his wife and four children.