The Houston Baptist Huskies may be nothing too special.
They are but one of the many mediocre programs that dot the college basketball landscape. Here’s a brief look at their history (or lack thereof): The Huskies boast a single NCAA Tournament appearance, in 1984, along with a 3-10 record in the NAIA tournament. They’ve got a single coach who had a winning record at the school. Their facilities are nothing to speak of unless said speak happens to be an insult or a comparison to a high school gymnasium.
Overall, Houston Baptist is just there. They’re not atrocious enough or good enough to write home about. They’re the school that everyone always forgets is Division I whenever they’re challenged to name every single DI school in Texas.
But the Huskies do have one bright spot in their basketball history. A shining star floating in a sea of meh: These horrendously, gloriously, wonderfully ugly throwback uniforms.
— HBU Athletics (@HBUHuskies) January 18, 2015
A View of the Weird
On January 17, 2015, Houston Baptist revealed these garments to the world for their “70s night” game against New Orleans. And the world was never the same again.
Those shorts are not shorts. They’re basically pants. And the stripes? It’s as if Bozo the Clown decided to start a Boise State fan club. As for the jersey, that husky is about to dunk on Baylor’s Sailor Bear and break the ankles of Texas A&M’s Ol’ Sarge. It’s pure 1970s, hand-drawn mascot beauty.
Combine the ensemble and you’re left with some of the most wonderfully hideous pieces of sports apparel to ever set foot on an NCAA Division I basketball court.
Many absolutely adore them, and Houston Baptist needs to bring them back, for the Huskies’ own benefit.
The Case for Permanent Throwbacks for Houston Baptist
Think about it for a moment. Historically, what else has Houston Baptist done that’s even remotely noteworthy? Making these jerseys permanent is something that will get the Huskies name recognition among the college basketball world.
Uniforms are an unrealized key to notoriety in sports. A substantial amount of people are apparel mercenaries. They’ll wear whatever looks neat, cool, stupid, stupid enough to loop around back to being cool again, or just plain weird.
Maybe a return goes as far as spawning a “Doug Flutie Effect” for Houston Baptist. Or maybe it just leads to a couple more articles and mentions by the talking heads of the nation’s sports media. Either way, the publicity is a win for Houston Baptist, and getting to see and potentially purchase these throwback uniforms is a win for everybody else.
Make the throwbacks permanent, sell replicas, auction off the originals, make them a yearly “retro night,” uniform, do literally anything. Turn the Huskies into a cult classic. Give the fans something to enjoy, and give them something to pay for.
It would take a lot for Houston Baptist to reach long term relevance on the court. And if you can’t be good, you might as well be weird. Weird makes money. And as much as all of us might hate to admit it, college athletics more often than not is a money game.
So embrace the weird, Houston Baptist. Embrace the weird and bring back those beautifully ugly throwbacks.
Enjoy this piece? Or want to discuss even more weird uniforms? Find me on Twitter @Texiancurtis. Be sure to follow @lastwordonsport for all your sports needs and @LastWordHoops for more basketball content.
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