STATESBORO, Ga. - Lt. Col. Randall V. Simmons, representing the Georgia National Guard, presented President Brooks Keel and Head Football Coach Jeff Monken with special custom Nike dark blue digital camouflage jerseys which will be worn by the Eagles for the Military Appreciation Game October 13th. A Georgia Southern alum and decorated officer, Simmons presented Monken with the No. 48 jersey, to represent the 48th Infantry Brigade of the Georgia Army National Guard. Instead of a single name, "EAGLES" was embroidered on the front nameplate and "Always Ready, Always There" is sublimated into the jersey fabric on the back.
The No. 1 jersey presented to President Keel sported the patch of Georgia Southern's Eagle Battalion, which recently won its second consecutive MacArthur Award as one of the top ROTC programs in the nation.
Colonel George Frederick, Georgia Southern ROTC Battalion Commander, was instrumental in facilitating the partnership between the Georgia National Guard and Georgia Southern Athletics in early 2012. Frederick and Colonel Kenneth Hutnick II, Recruiting and Retention Commander of the Georgia National Guard, worked together as the jersey concept moved from idea to reality. Nike began the design in April and manufacturing of the custom jerseys began in Waterloo, Iowa, this summer. The 2012 Eagle Football team was shown the jersey prior to the public announcement today.
The jerseys worn by the Eagles for the 2012 Military Appreciation Day will all have "Always Ready, Always There" on the backs, customized with each player's name embroidered on the front nameplate. Players have the option of wearing specific patches to represent any family members or friends who have served or are currently serving in the military. More than 100 different patches for various battalions, commands, units, ships, squadrons and submarines will be worn on October 13th.
The October 13th game will be the first time Georgia Southern will wear something other than its traditional blue or white jerseys. The jerseys will be auctioned off later this fall with details to be announced.
Also on display at today's announcement were the helmet decals that will be worn for Military Appreciation Day. Georgia Southern's traditional dark blue helmet will be decaled with a red stripe, representing the sacrifices of freedom, flanked with a thin bright yellow stroke on each side. The gray numerals on each side of the helmet will also be outlined in red and yellow.
"Military Appreciation Day at Georgia Southern is just one small way we can honor the men and women who serve our country and protect our freedom," said Monken. "Wearing these special uniforms on the field will show our support for our veterans, for our active duty military, and for those who have made the supreme sacrifice for our great nation."
On Military Appreciation Day, October 13th, the "Snacks for Soldiers" campaign will kick off as the University and community will be asked to donate non-perishable items for deployed members of the military. Locations on campus will be identified as drop-off points. Prior to the 6 p.m. game vs. Wofford, weather permitting, the Golden Knights will parachute into Paulson Stadium as a tribute to Military Appreciation Day.