In an all-encompassing interview with Sports Illustrated’s Richard Johnson, first-year Florida head coach Billy Napier announced the Gators will unveil all-black uniforms in the near future.
“We’re going to wear black uniforms here at the University of Florida, but each one of those uniforms that we wear, we are going to action off,” Napier said. “We’re going to sell those and take the money and we’re going to give that to families that maybe had some type of injury and setback and are living a little bit different lifestyle as a result of their military service.”
It’s unclear when the uniforms will make their on-field debut, as Napier added that Nike – which creates Florida’s Jordan Brand uniforms – might not be able to produce them in time for the upcoming season. Thus, he anticipates they’ll first be worn in 2023.
While Florida traditionally wears an orange helmet with a blue home, white road or orange alternate jersey and blue, white or orange pants, those options have expanded in recent years to include blue and white alternate helmets.
The Gators also wore a “swamp green” alternate uniform in 2017 that was widely criticized and hasn’t been seen since, as the helmets were reconditioned into the aforementioned blue lids.
Black uniforms have long been rumored in Gainesville and seemed like a logical next step given how many of Florida’s other sports, namely baseball and men’s basketball, have a black alternate.
Former wide receiver Jacob Copeland – who has since transferred to Maryland – even said in an Instagram live leading up to the 2020 season that the Gators would wear black uniforms that fall.
However, they never came to fruition under former head coach Dan Mullen, who was fired last November, with athletic director Scott Stricklin further dismissing the idea by adding that they’ve never ordered black uniforms.
It now appears that’s going to change with Napier taking over the program. And it’s worth noting the only alternate uniform he introduced during his four-year stint at Louisiana-Lafayette was black, as pointed out by our friend Brock Brames, the founder of Gators Uniform Tracker.
Photo courtesy of @GatorsFB on Twitter.