Bowling Green, Ky. (August 17, 2007) – Western Kentucky University today announced an agreement that designates Russell Athletic as the “Official Team Apparel” provider of WKU through 2012. The $2 million, five-year agreement includes equipment, apparel and cash. The all-inclusive outfitting agreement gives Russell Athletic, a subsidiary of Fruit of the Loom, exclusive rights as uniform provider for all 20 WKU varsity teams and coaches in addition to category exclusivity for licensed apparel at all University bookstores and Stadium/Arena concessions.
Other elements of the agreement include permanent signage as the “Official Team Apparel of Western Kentucky Athletics” at all athletic venues, Russell Athletic logo recognition on chair-back covers for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams benches and two, 30-second television commercial spots each broadcast on Hilltopper Satellite Sports Network television for both basketball and football games. Spalding will also provide hard goods for the schools athletic programs.
“We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to outfit WKU’s athletic program,” said Fruit of the Loom CEO John Holland, “and become a partner in supporting their commitment to be a nationally recognized Division 1A program.” Fruit of the Loom’s headquarters is in Bowling Green, Ky.
WKU President Dr. Gary Ransdell said he is “so proud of the new partnership with Russell Athletic, primarily because of my respect for John Holland, but also because it marries two Bowling Green institutions—WKU and Russell/Fruit of the Loom.”
Dr. Ransdell added that the partnership elevates the quality of WKU’s athletic brand. “Our fans and our competitors will be impressed with our character, our talent and now our look,” he said. “Quality sells and with Russell, all of our fans can now wear the game day collection and be part of the new look for WKU.”
Dr. Wood Selig, WKU’s Director of Athletics, said the nation's finest intercollegiate athletic programs typically associate and partner with corporations of national and international stature. “WKU athletics and Russell Athletic are two brands each known for outstanding performance over a rich and storied history in the sporting world,” he said.
“This apparel and equipment partnership will benefit each of our 20 athletic programs and every one of our 440 student-athletes,” Dr. Selig said. “Figuratively, the I-A transition in football brings a whole new look to the entire WKU Athletic Department. Literally, the Russell Athletic apparel partnership will provide WKU student-athletes, fans and programs with a quality look of distinctiveness. We are very appreciative of our most generous neighbor, Fruit of the Loom, and Mr. Holland, for their commitment to join the growing ranks of corporate partners for WKU athletics. This is an exciting and wonderful time to be a part of the Hilltopper athletic program.”
Head football coach David Elson said he particularly pleased with the partnership. “Russell Athletic is a great company that is taking their entire organization to another level, much like WKU Football is doing,” he said. “Our coaches and players love the gear that we are currently using and can’t wait to see what the future will bring.”
Women’s basketball head coach Mary Taylor Cowles said WKU is fortunate to have Russell Athletic as a partner. “This is a great situation for our athletic department and will prove to benefit our entire program for a long time,” said said.
Men’s basketball head coach Darrin Horn said he looks forward to working with Russell “as one of their premier schools.”