GatorZone.com Senior Writer
View Florida Field through the years (photo gallery)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Everyone knew the 2012 Florida football team -- with its new offense, new starting quarterback (whoever it turns out to be) and plenty of new players -- would have a different look this season.
But so will Florida Field.
The famous Gator head logo that has been synonymous with the UF athletic program since 1995 will emblazon its orange and blue likeness across the 50-yard line, big enough and bright enough for all to see. The logo will be 60 feet wide (from 40-yard line to 40-yard line) and 40 feet deep (between the hashmarks).
In the center of the action.
Right where he belongs.
“Our goal was to place our primary mark at midfield. That’s the most prominent location on the field and we felt that’s where the Gator head needed to be,” said Mike Hill, senior associate athletics director for external affairs. “It’s a hugely recognized symbol in college athletics.”
The new midfield look will move the letter “F” from the 50 to adjacent positions on each 25-yard line. Opposite each “F,” which now will be scripted in the updated Gator font, will be the official logos of the Southeastern Conference.
“It’s about consistency and updating,” said Chip Howard, senior associate athletics director for internal affairs. “This is part of a process that we’re continuing, part of an evolution. It starts with uniforms, branches out and eventually works its way to facilities.”
For fans watching a televised game from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the giant Gator head will leave no doubt where the game is being played.
“This is something we have mulled over for years,” Hill said. “It’s an administrative decision and involved conversations with the staff, with former letter winners and people across the board.”
Those people included the F Club, whose members number all-time letter-winners from all University of Florida teams and for whom the letter “F” at midfield has honored over the years.
The F Club endorsed the changes.
“When you think about the University of Florida and everything it represents, the most recognizable symbol is the Gator Head,” said F Club president and former UF pitcher Jeff Cardozo. “We as a committee understand that and are excited that it will be in the center of Florida Field in front of the best fans in the nation."
The revamped field will be one several upgrades fans will see, starting with the Sept. 1 season opener against Bowling Green, a game that also will mark the debut of the $5.6 million west concourse renovation project.
Around the stadium, graphics will now be scripted in the Gator font that has donned uniforms of other teams, including basketball, for several seasons (for images, view Scott Carter’s blog from this weekend).
“We’re constantly looking to update the graphics in our facility to better identify with Gator athletics,” Howard said. “This is the next step forward.”