Since the Kliff Kingsbury era began last season, the Texas Tech football team seems to have an endless amount of uniform combinations.
Head football equipment manager Zane Perry does not seem to mind the constantly changing uniforms.
As a freshman at Tech in 1999, Perry was offered a scholarship to join the student equipment staff, and has been involved with Red Raider football ever since.
“I was always too small in high school to play (football). I had the opportunity to come up here on a partial scholarship as student manager. I stuck with it, and (Mike) Leach promoted me in 2005 to assistant equipment manager,” Perry said. “In 2007, I was promoted to head equipment manager. Tommy Tuberville kept me around, and coach Kingsbury was nice enough to keep me, too.”
Kingsbury has creative license for uniforms design written into his contract with Tech.
“I wanted to have a big hand in all those decisions,” Kingsbury said in a USA Today article. “It was important to me to have full control when it comes to that area.”
Through Tech’s two coaching changes in Perry’s time on staff, he said the goal of his job has stayed pretty consistent, and he just has to keep up with the new uniforms for each week.
“The job is pretty much the same, obviously we have more uniforms and more helmets to get ready for the games. But it’s actually better,” Perry said. “It’s more work for us but it keeps us busy and keeps it more exciting for us and all of our students.”
He not only is in charge of preparing game day uniforms for the players but also is in charge of practice equipment and coaches attire.
The Red Raider football coaching and staff members get together each November to decide on uniforms for the following season, and by January, Perry is getting next season’s uniforms set up.After Saturday’s game is over, Perry said, it takes him the entire week to prepare the next week’s uniforms.
“I’m the only one that does the decals on the helmets. I can get half the helmets done in two days, and the other half in two more days,” he said. “On Friday, we just clean the helmets and make sure they are ready to go and put them in their spots in the lockers.”
During the week, Tech’s staff does everything it can to keep anything about the uniforms from being leaked.
For special event uniforms, Perry said, they are able to keep it a secret because the players do not know about the uniforms until they enter the locker room on the morning of game day.
As part of Kingsbury’s contract, Under Armour sends Tech their uniform ideas for the upcoming season. Kingsbury and Perry then get together and make changes until the uniforms are up to their liking.
One uniform that drew some attention this season was the white ombré uniform worn against Oklahoma State on Sept. 25.
Perry said is it very rewarding for him whenever he can tell players love a new uniform that they use.
“(Under Armour) presented us three helmets, and we picked one,” Perry said. “Each one is serialized by one guy, he paints all the helmets and does a great job. They’re all hand painted you can so you can see each element of the details. The players really loved (the uniforms). Not a lot of people like that one, but the players loved it.”
Besides the ombré uniforms at Oklahoma State, the Red Raiders also wore mid-1990s throwback uniforms for the Sept. 13 game against Arkansas, which Perry said were his favorites.
When asked about special uniforms for this season, such as the Lone Star Pride or Wounded Warrior uniforms, Perry said he could not reveal anything, but fans would have to stay tuned.
Tech has not worn a uniform with a red jersey since the 2012 -13 season, but Perry also said the equipment staff still has many surprises planned.
Despite long hours, including arriving at games more than 12 hours before kickoff to double check his work, Perry said he loves his job, especially after Tech gets a win.
“Game day, when we win (is the best part),” he said. “It’s always rewarding when we win.”