This week's Sunday Conversation will be a little bit different as the sports information department shines a spotlight on the different logos used throughout Carson-Newman's athletic history.
Jefferson City, Tenn. – Throughout the history of Carson-Newman athletics, numerous emblems and logos have been associated with the athletic department. From the different variations of the interlocking "C" and "N" logo, to the "Buff" Eagle, and the newest "Talons Up" logo. None are more iconic than the Eagle Head logo adorned on the side of Carson-Newman football helmets.
The interlocking "C" and "N" initials, similar to the logo used by the University of North Carolina, first appeared on the caps of Carson-Newman baseball teams in the early 1900s. Throughout the years the interlocking logo has had a few updates, but the Carson-Newman baseball team has kept the retro logo alive and well within modern times. As the teams has placed the logo on both their jersey's and baseball caps throughout the 2000s and as recently as the 2013 baseball season.
The most common logo used by Carson-Newman is the upper case "C" with an upper case "N" in the middle of the "C." This logo can be see virtually everywhere on campus from the bookstore to the walls of the Maddox Pool. The logo can also be seen front and center at mid-court of Holt Fieldhouse. Both the baseball and softball teams use the logo on current uniforms and hats.
Another logo making a comeback to the Carson-Newman Athletic Department is the "Buff" Eagle. This logo is mainly used by media members for media guides, and to post on social media after a big win for the Eagles. This logo was originally used by Eagle Club and both the C-N football and wrestling teams throughout the 1980s.
There are two variations of the "Buff" Eagle from the 1980s, the first is a "Buff" Eagle pointing his finger at the audience with words at the top of the page reading, "I want you!" This particular Eagle was mainly used for promoting the Eagle Club at the end of media guides, or game day programs. The second variation of the "Buff" Eagle is positioned with the left side facing the audience, with clinched fists. This particular Eagle was the one used for both football and the wrestling team. The newest variation of the "Buff" Eagle is the one that can be found today, as it is viewed walking towards the audience.
The most iconic logo is the all-white Eagle Head that came from Chad Sparks, the son of legendary football coach Ken Sparks. The Carson-Newman football team has worn the logo on their helmets since the 1980 football season. Over the years there have been a few variations made to the logo, such as an orange beak, or a blue beak that can be found on sweatshirts in the bookstores. Other variations of the logo include an orange head with a yellow beak, but the original all-white Eagle Head remains on the football team's helmets.
Prior to the iconic Eagle Head logo, the football team used a "Flying" Eagle similar to that of Boston College. The "Flying" Eagle was viewed from the left side, the reverse of the Boston College logo which is viewed from the right.
The latest logo used by the athletic department is the "Talons Up!" logo which was created in the summer of 2014. Current sports information director Adam Cavalier and faculty advisor of the "Mossy Creek Maniacs", Dr. Chad Hartsock, came up with the concept of the logo.
Graphic design student Sean Grady was given the task to create the new logo for the sports department and the student section. Originally the logo was going to be an actual talon in black and white. After multiple meetings and discussions, the design of using a hand came to the forefront so that it would become more recognizable. The other reason the hand was chosen is so that fans would be able recreate the symbol during sporting events.
If one looks at the design closely one will realize that the image is left handed, the reason is that Dr. Hartsock is left handed and used his hand for the outline of the logo.
The fall of 2014 the logo took off during the football season as it flashed on the scoreboard before opening kickoff. Fans can also see the logo on the walls throughout Holt Fieldhouse and even in the press box of Burke-Tarr Stadium.
When asked about the success of the logo he helped create Grady said, "I'm pretty proud that so many people have responded well to the image and are proud to wear it on t-shirts. It was one of the first pieces I had made where it really defined a group of people."
Some logos come and go, but for Carson-Newman the Eagle Head and block "C" and "N" are here to stay.