Uniforms an important part of Dayton Flyers basketball

University of Dayton basketball legend Roosevelt Chapman in the 1980s.
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University of Dayton basketball legend Roosevelt Chapman in the 1980s.

WHIO’S John Bedell ranks his favorite UD looks

Editor’s note: The Dayton Flyers start the season Nov. 11. In the 26 days leading to the opener, the Dayton Daily News will explore different aspects of the program in the A-Z Guide to Dayton Basketball. This is the 21st installment. U: Uniforms.

The Dayton Flyers introduced new uniforms Oct. 18 at UD Arena. The players modeled them while talking to the media and posing for photos.

They were kids on Christmas day, only kids who didn’t want a new Star Wars toy or Playstation game. Most kids would frown at unwrapping a new outfit. The Flyers had the opposite reaction. They couldn’t stop smiling. It was a day made for selfies.

Athletes like to look good these days. Maybe they always have, but generations ago, programs didn’t make new uniforms part of the recruiting pitch. The Ohio State Buckeyes wore retro uniforms modeled after those of 100 years ago on Saturday. The University of Oregon has cornered the market on original uniforms.

PHOTOS: Dayton uniforms over the years

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These days having a good look is almost as important as having a shiny, new arena or at least — in the case of UD Arena — an aging arena that holds up well and is always full of fans.

For decades, Dayton’s uniforms didn’t vary much. Only in recent years has the program gone with bold new looks. Graduate assistant manager Brian Frank has played a big role in designing uniforms in recent years, and the players had a say in the jerseys Dayton will wear this season.

To put in perspective how much the uniforms have changed, we needed a uniform expert of sorts. WHIO anchor John Bedell is an Emmy-winning reporter who has tackled numerous important stories in Dayton. He’s also a UD grad who hosts Flyer Feedback on AM 1290 and FM 95.7 after games and is well known for posting photos of his colorful socks several times a week. In other words, he knows fashion. That’s why we asked him to rank various looks worn by the Flyers over the years.

Why he’s a Flyer fan

John Bedell: A lot of people talk about how fan attachments to teams are often passed down from one generation to the next. That's surely how my love affair with the Indians, Cavs and Browns started. My love of Cleveland sports passed onto me from an early age by my father and his father before him. My infatuation with the Dayton Flyers is no different. I can trace it back to a man who was like an additional father figure in my life. His name was Bill Ricco. Bill was a UD grad. Class of 1958. He played football for the Flyers with Gerry Faust.

After UD, Bill began a teaching career at home in northeast Ohio and eventually helped found my alma mater, Walsh Jesuit High School, in Cuyahoga Falls in 1965. Bill was a pillar of Walsh and the only place he loved more than WJ was UD. Particularly during his years as a college guidance counselor, he sent droves of students from Walsh to UD. (To this day, Bill is a household name in the admissions office at Dayton.) If Bill was your guidance counselor at Walsh, UD was on your list of prospective schools. Bill was my guidance counselor and he steered me to Dayton. I visited and fell in love as soon as I set foot on campus. I was sold. UD it was.

When I moved into Marianist Hall as a freshman in the fall of 2006, I knew just enough about Dayton Flyers roundball and its fan base to know I couldn’t wait to check out a game. As a dyed-in-the-wool Cleveland sports fan, I appreciated how people in this community yearned for basketball season and lived and died with their Flyers. I carried my devotion to the Indians, Cavs and Browns right over to UD basketball. For me, falling in love with UD Arena and the Dayton Flyers went about the same as falling in love with campus: as soon as I set foot inside the place, I was sold. I’ve been hooked ever since. Thanks, Bill.

My Favorite Uniform

1. Roosevelt Chapman 1980s era: The Roosevelt Chapman-era 1980s uniforms. Those unis were, as the kids say these days, "fire emoji." I'm a big fan of classic and retro designs when it comes to jerseys. The uniform sets of that era were just that. They had a really sharp cardinal red road jersey during this era that included white, navy and Marian blue piping. But my favorite uni sets from the 1908s were the home whites: a gorgeous, block-lettered "Dayton" wordmark across the chest? Yes please. The interlocking block "UD" logo on the side of the shorts? The best "UD" logo of all. Gorgeous. The navy and Marian blue striped side panels? I need a smoke. Straightforwardly perfect. They wore this uniform set as on a throwback night around Christmas break a few years back during the Marcus Johnson/Kurt Huelsman era. I'd give my next paycheck for one of those unis.

2. Chip Hare, early 1990s: Again, simple-but-effective. Similar "Dayton" chest wordmark and piping only this time with red, white and blue. There is a theme here for my favorite Dayton Flyers unis.

3. Don May, 1960s: Short shorts! And who doesn't love actual belts on your jersey's shorts?

4. Josh Parker, 2011: An all Marian blue alternate! When I tweeted in August I got a look at early mockups of this year's new UD unis, I can't tell you how many people tweeted back, "any Marian blue alternates?!" It's what the people demand, so it this one makes my top four.

5. Kyle Davis and Scoochie Smith, 2016: The red numbers and piping don't exactly pop off this navy alternate, but I've always been a fan of this blue jersey since it was introduced two seasons ago. Archie pulls them out for big road games. I approve.

6. The new 2016-17 set: They've moved from a solid letter "Dayton" wordmark to the letters having a bold, contrasting outline. That, coupled with the more form-fitting top and getting rid of the piping along the collar gives this uniform set a slightly sharper, cleaner look. I like the contrast texturing on the shorts, too. The subtle change in the number font is a good one, too.

7. John Crosby in the 2015-16 jersey: I LOVED these new unis when they came around with the logo re-design in 2015. Extra points here for the Flyers making two NCAA berths in this uniform set.

8. Xeyrius Williams in the current gray alternate: I'm not a huge fan of these. They beat George Mason by like 700 when they broke them out for the first time in January and then lost to Rhody at home wearing them in one of the most confusing color vs. color jersey matchups of all time. The grey unis looked too similar to Rhody's "Keany Blue" road set at UD Arena.

9. Matt Kavanaugh, 2013: I was never a big fan of this template from Nike. The piping on the shoulder blades and down the side of the shorts with the "Flyers" work mark looked clunky. Blue drop shadowing on red lettering and numbers didn't help. But they made the Elite 8 run in this set, so they're getting saved from the bottom of my list.

10. Tony Stanley, 2003: Three-quarters of my co-hosts for Flyer Feedback (Keith Waleskowski, Nate Green and Brooks Hall) played in these jerseys, so I can't hate on this set too much, right? Meh.

11. Ryan Perryman, 1990s: The most 1990s uniforms ever. Complete with "Flyers" piping only on the right short leg and the "Wild and Crazy Kids" UD logo.