BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech football unveiled an alternative Nike uniform for the Battle at Bristol via video Saturday. The Hokies will take the field against Tennessee on Sept. 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway sporting a contemporary look that pays homage to several elements of Tech’s iconic history.The ubiquitous Hokie Stone is a mineral found in the Appalachian Mountains and prevalent in Virginia. A sedimentary rock, it is formed from calcium and magnesium carbonate and occurs in muted shades of pink, red, gray, brown and black.
Hokie Stone represents Tech’s most distinctive architectural feature, and that same gray is also a prominent color for the Corps of Cadets. From helmets to jerseys and other elements of this alternative uniform, Nike’s distinctive anthracite spectrum is utilized extensively to interconnect the past and present.
The Battle at Bristol represented a special opportunity to utilize this expanded color palette for a unique uniform as the Hokies prepare for a game decades in the making at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Virginia Tech was founded in 1872 as a land-grant institution and was named Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. All students were cadets organized into a battalion of two companies with an enrollment of 132 and the school’s original colors on athletic uniforms were black and gray.
In 1896, the Virginia General Assembly officially changed the college's name to Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute, a name so long that people shortened it in popular usage to VPI.
With a new school name, a committee was formed to find a suitable combination of colors to replace the original black and gray. Burnt orange and Chicago maroon were officially adopted and were first worn during a football game versus nearby Roanoke College on Oct. 26, 1896.