JOHNSON CITY — The East Tennessee State Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Tuesday that it has reached a new agreement with Nike to become the official apparel provider for Buccaneer athletics.
While several ETSU teams have worn Nike apparel for many years, the new, five-year contractual agreement will expand the current relationship to include football while continuing long-standing partnerships with other sports, including men’s and women’s basketball.
“We have spent the last several months methodically following the bid process and we are excited to announce today that we will be partnering with Nike to provide our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans the opportunity to wear products designed and distributed by the world-wide leader in sports apparel,” said ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Richard Sander.
“This relationship will have a far-reaching impact on our entire program, from recruiting student-athletes to developing the ETSU athletics’ brand,” Sander said.” This is just another step in the process of increasing the national recognition of ETSU Athletics.”
In-state retailer Nashville Sporting Goods will act as the distributor for the Bucs’ Nike agreement, and the new contract begins immediately.
Comments from ETSU head coaches:
• Football coach Carl Torbush: “Personally and for ETSU, I’m both honored and excited about having Nike as our apparel sponsor. I’ve had the opportunity to be part of the Nike family for many years, especially when I was the head coach at North Carolina. I have a personal relationship with many of the people there and I don’t have any doubt they will do a first-class job in every way. Nike is a brand that helps in so many ways for both our school and in athletics. The name recognition it brings is second to none. It’s going to be a great relationship.”
• Men’s basketball coach Murry Bartow: “I’ve been a head coach for 17 years and I’ve worked with Nike in each of those seasons. They are the most visible and respected provider of sports apparel in the world and to have them expand their relationship with us can only help our entire athletic program. From a recruiting standpoint, young people recognize the Nike Swoosh and they want to wear those products. For our teams to officially have that logo present and to be working closely with Nike in regards to the design and look of our teams will be extremely exciting.
• Women’s basketball coach Brittney Ezell: “What an honor to officially have ETSU join the Nike family! I know that our players, coaches, recruits and fans alike will love the apparel, equipment and the prestige that Nike will bestow upon our program. Nike is clearly the most recognizable brand in the world, as well as the nation’s industry leader in athletic apparel and footwear. Having our Buccaneers outfitted in the premier logo in sports is another tremendous step in the right direction for ETSU. We are grateful for the new partnership and are looking forward to wearing the Nike Swoosh with pride for years to come.”