The Power of Purple
Linfield's winning ways continue to prove purple's reign in DIII
APPLETON, Wis. -- This season’s fall, winter and spring championships might go down as the Power of the Purple in Division III.
At least eight teams — a mix of men’s and women’s sports — have won 2012-13 national championships wearing some shade of purple, whether lavender or deepest amethyst.
That might bode well for the lone, remaining purple squad in the 2013 NCAA DIII Baseball Championship. Heading into Saturday’s Day 4 action, two teams claimed purple as their principle school color, Linfield and Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The latter was eliminated in an 8-1 loss to Southern Maine, so only Linfield carries the purple banner heading into Tuesday’s national championship round.
“It’s crazy how much purple is going around,” Wisconsin-Stevens Point head coach Pat Bloom said prior to his team’s loss.
“I wouldn’t really think that would be a predominant color for schools, but I guess it’s been working out,” Linfield left fielder Tim Wilson said before the Wildcats lost 6-4 to Ithaca on Saturday.
The loss didn’t dent his team much. As the only one-loss team in the tournament, they’ll play Tuesday’s national title game against the winner of an earlier, set-up game between Ithaca and Southern Maine.
A day earlier, in Sunday evening’s battle of the purples, Linfield had squared off against Wisconsin-Stevens Point, coming from behind to beat the Pointers 5-3 in Day 4 action, to send them to the elimination bracket.
Linfield’s Wildcats won their purple-trimmed white uniforms while Wisconsin-Stevens Point wore purple-trimmed gray.
“You don’t really think about it when you’re playing,” Stevens Point shortstop Dan Douglas said. “Sometimes we have to wear gray a lot just because the other team’s wearing purple. So we don’t really get to wear purple a lot.”
“We don’t have too many uniform combinations, so it’s not too difficult for us to make those game-day decisions,” Linfield head coach Scott Brosius said.
The list of DIII national champions whose school colors are purple includes Amherst, who played another purple-wearer, Mary Hardin-Baylor, in the men’s basketball final. The national-champion football team, Mount Union, wears purple.
The Wisconsin-Whitewater women’s basketball team that finished as national runner-ups wore — guess what — purple. Mary Hardin-Baylor women’s golf team, the Kenyon men’s swimming and diving team, the Williams men’s and women’s tennis teams and the St. Thomas (Minn.) women won the volleyball crown in the regal color.
“It’s funny because at the regional and national level, we have seen a little more purple,” Brosius said. “We’re the only purple in our [Northwest] conference. But it was funny because in 2008, the first year we went to the regional, I think Stevens Point was in that regional. There was someone else wearing purple. And the world series, there’s been, at times one or two other teams in purple as well. It’s been kind of a little bit more of a common color that we realized out here.”
Wilson said Brosius made a fashion statement when he became Linfield’s head coach in 2008.
“Before Bro came here, for some reason we switched to navy and red,” Wilson said. “And then when Bro came to coach, he made us switch back to purple and red to match our school color schemes.”
In the market for new duds, Wilson, a senior, thinks pinstripes would work for his successors.
“Maybe that’ll be the next step,” he said of Brosius. “I’ve been trying to bug him about that.”