College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross

Rebranding College of the Holy Cross
by Coach & Athletic Director Magazine. January 2016

When Nathan Pine became the director of athletics at College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Massachusetts) in 2014, the institution was embarking on a rebranding campaign designed to give the campus a fresh look.

Almost immediately, he knew this was his opportunity to bring those same changes to the athletic program.

Those on the outside of collegiate or even prep sports departments rarely understand the critical nature of aesthetics and branding, but it’s at the heart of every program. Signs, banners and other imagery inspire excitement in not only student-athletes but the community as a whole, so Pine wanted to make sure he approached this project carefully.

“We had a real opportunity based on bigger things at work on our campus to redo the athletic marks,” Pine said. “We really didn’t have a consolidated brand, so we took the opportunity with the campus looking at it to be part of the bigger initiative, which got a lot of buy-in across our campus.”

Pine started by installing windscreens at many of the college’s outdoor facilities, including the soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and track stadiums. Those areas of campus lacked branding and school logos, and working with allowed the program to make significant improvements without breaking the budget.

Then came upgrades to the football stadium, which were completed just in time for the 2015 season. Pine said large bleacher covers were put in place to close off the upper endzone. The stadium was built to hold 20,000 fans, but attendance hovers around 11,000. Sealing off certain parts of the stands helped to funnel fans into more premium seating areas around the sidelines while bringing signage in highly visible areas.

“It’s been very well received and it certainly dressed up the facility and makes it look nice,” Pine said. “We have about 100,000 cars go by it each day, so a lot of people are seeing the branding down there at the lower part of our campus.”

College of the Holy Cross is consistently named among the nation’s top liberal arts colleges for academics, but it also has a strong athletic presence. Pine said about 25 percent of the student population plays sports — the highest of any Division I program — and the college supports 27 varsity teams. It now streams more than 400 games free through the Patriot League’s
network, so that type of visibility meant the program had to be represented the right way.

Pine said banners or windscreens inside the facilities typically carry the school logo — an important branding detail when streaming games worldwide — but those on the outside carry images of student athletes in various sports.

“A lot of people know us through athletics, and we want to make sure we’re carrying the brand the right way,” Pine said.

The branding process was described as seamless. Pine said maintained constant communication with the program while proofing the images and making sure the sizing was correct. That allowed everything to land in place just in time for the season.

The last two years made up the bulk of the athletic program’s branding project, but Pine said he still could make minor improvements here and there in the coming years. Now that he’s reviewed every facility on campus, it allowed him to identify lower priority areas for future aesthetic adjustments.

Pine said he had been a part of similar projects at other schools, and his advice to other athletic administrators out there would be to stay cognizant of appearance and how it affects your program.

“We’ve gotten good feedback from our alumni about what we’ve done, so it encourages us to keep adding on as we see things that can be enhanced,” Pine said. “Be strategic about what you’re trying to do with those facilities. It’s a very smart investment.”

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